UNF men’s soccer hangs on to 1-0 lead, defeats JU for second straight year

Al Huffman

UNF men’s soccer have won back-to-back River City Rivalry matches against JU.  Photo courtesy of UNF Athletics.
UNF men’s soccer have won back-to-back River City Rivalry matches against JU.
Photo courtesy of UNF Athletics.

UNF men’s soccer defeated rival Jacksonville University 1-0 on Oct. 24 on the road at Southern Oaks Stadium. The River City Rumble teams combined for 7 yellow cards in a physical Atlantic Sun matchup.

The shutout win marks the first time UNF men’s soccer has earned back-to-back Dennis Viollet Cups, the River City Rumble rivalry trophy. The Ospreys are now 8-10-1 all-time against Jacksonville since the rivalry began in 1994.

The Ospreys (7-5-1 overall, 3-0-1 A-Sun) entered the match with high confidence as the squad has not lost a match since a 2-1 loss to North Carolina on Sept. 21. Meanwhile, JU (3-10-1 overall, 1-4 A-Sun) looked to bounce back from a tough 5-0 loss to Georgia Southern on Oct. 13.

The match only started out slow on the scoreboard. Aggressive play on the field led to 3 yellow cards against JU. Cards were booked to redshirt sophomore defender Kacper Grzeszczak, freshman midfielder Alberto Escobedo, and senior defender Griffin Kelly. Junior midfielder Martin Agredo also picked up a fourth yellow card for the Dolphins in the second half.

UNF senior midfielder Drew Spragg scored the first and only goal of the match, assisted by junior midfielder Jay Bolt. The 1-0 lead would be enough for the Ospreys to earn a win and remain undefeated in conference play.

After the game, Spragg said he was happy to get what was perhaps his last chance for a goal against the Dolphins.

“It’s always big beating JU,” Spragg said, “It felt good. My last time potentially playing them if we don’t see them in conference [playoffs] so it was a big time to finish one against cross-town rivals.”

The aggression continued in the second half as Spragg, and sophomore defenders Sebastian Morales and Aidan D’Mello all received yellow cards for the Ospreys.

With 3 saves in the shutout, UNF senior goalkeeper Kyle Nasta became UNF’s all-time leader in saves (141) in the Division 1 era. After the game, Nasta said he cared more about the team’s success.

“It’s a pretty cool accomplishment for myself on an individual level,” Nasta said. “As a team we’re moving forward. We’re getting better as a team so that’s the most important thing right now.”

The Ospreys travel to Boca Raton, Fla. on Oct. 28 to play Florida Atlantic, then return home Oct. 31 to face USC Upstate in the Ospreys’ final match of the regular season.

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