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UNF men’s soccer: all good things come to an end

UNF’s Teddy Mulamba (17) heading the ball down, keeping it from FGCU’s Kamar Marriott. Photo courtesy ASunPhotos.com
UNF’s Teddy Mulamba (17) heading the ball down, keeping it from FGCU’s Kamar Marriott.
Photo courtesy ASunPhotos.com

The University of North Florida men’s soccer team saw the end to their postseason run on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 16, when they played Florida Gulf Coast University in the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship. FGCU sophomore defensive midfielder Will Suedois delivered the dagger to the Ospreys’ heart during the 35th minute, giving his team a one-point advantage that they would hold onto for the remainder of the game. FGCU barely escaped UNF with a 1-0 victory, consequently earning them a trip to the 2014 NCAA Men’s College Cup.

“A credit to Gulf Coast, they were the aggressors and better team today,” said UNF Head Coach Derek Marinatos. “I don’t think we defended particularly well in the first half, and we had too many turnovers which did not allow us to sustain possession and put pressure on them.

Revenge is always a dish best served cold and wet and preferably on a soccer field if you are the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. This was the third time since 2011 that FGCU has won the A-Sun title. In 2013, the A-Sun Championship was held in Fort Myers, Fla., and the Eagles ended up being knocked off by the Ospreys in front of their home crowd. Needless to say, there was some tension between the two teams, at least on FGCU’s part.

While UNF made short work of both University of South Carolina Upstate and top-seeded Lipscomb University, the Ospreys were seeded at number four coming into the tournament, which required them to play in the quarterfinals. FGCU on the other hand was seeded at number two, giving them the fresh-leg advantage of only having to play once in the semifinals before facing the Ospreys in the championship.

Despite the one shot on goal that squeezed past him, UNF junior goalkeeper Kyle Nasta once again put on an impressive defensive performance, stopping four of the five that were sent his way. Dealing with the muddy conditions that inevitably slowed down game play, the Ospreys’ offense delivered only a mere two shots on goal the entire match. One of those two came from UNF junior midfielder Camilo Garcia during the 72nd minute. The shot soared around FGCU junior goalkeeper Nathan Ingham but bounced off the post, much to the Eagles’ relief.

FGCU senior forward Santiago Echeverri was given a red card and ejected from the game during the 80th minute for running into Nasta inside the box. This incident created a unique advantage for the Ospreys, where they outnumbered FGCU on the field for the remaining 10 minutes of regulation play.

The second missed opportunity for the Ospreys came during the 87th minute when UNF sophomore defensive midfielder Jay Bolt attempted to capitalize on this man advantage, but was shut down by Ingham at the goal. Ingham would go onto the NCAA tournament to earn the title of A-Sun Championship MVP for the second time in his career.

Unable to connect with the net on the afternoon, this proved to be the last stop for the Ospreys this season, closing out the overall record with eight wins, seven losses and one tie.

Coach Marinatos was not pleased with the way the team played in the championship final, but expressed how proud he was of the team’s latest efforts and postseason achievements. “We continue to set new standards with the program and make strides, having improved every year,” said Marinatos.

Gallery photos courtesy ASunPhotos.com

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Email Jordan Ferrell at [email protected]

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