Game of the Week: UNF faces Mercer in first A-Sun playoff


The UNF men’s soccer team secured a slot in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Oct. 31 after defeating Mercer 2-1.

“I’m very proud of the team this season,” UNF head coach Ray Bunch said. “Every time we needed a big win, these guys made it happen. Our first goal was to make the tournament, and the next best thing would be to host the first round. It will make things a lot easier.”

The season leading up to the A-Sun tournament was rocky as UNF finished with a record of 4-11-1 after a 0-8 start. The Ospreys lost to several teams including Florida Gulf Coast and Belmont with scores of 3-0 and 4-1, respectively. They also lost to A-Sun tournament top seed Campbell University Oct. 29 with a score of 3-1.

However, the Ospreys were still able to secure an A-Sun tournament seat because of a few wins against some big name teams.

“We’ve had good performances throughout our games,” Bunch said. “We’ve just been overscheduled and have had really bad injuries. We’re not as bad as our record points out. It’s just been ones of those years, but we pulled it out in the end.”

After starting the season 0-8, UNF earned back-to-back wins against Jacksonville University, 2-1, and Stetson University, 2-0, that really made a difference in the season standings. These crucial games gave the Ospreys the confidence they needed, and now they feel they can compete with the top teams in the A-Sun championship, Bunch said.

“At this point in the season, it’s do or die,” he said. “We have worked hard with our backs against the wall and will continue to work hard through out the tournament.”

Ten teams competed for six spots in the A-Sun tournament, and despite a majority losing season, the Ospreys were one of few who were able to secure a spot over teams such as rival Jacksonville, Bunch said.

The first round of the A-Sun men’s soccer championship will occur Nov. 7 at 6 p.m., with an opening match for the Ospreys at Hodges Stadium versus Mercer. The game will be free to the first 300 hundred UNF students in attendance and will cost $3 for remaining students. Other ticket prices will follow normal pricing.