Men’s soccer dominates in Atlantic Sun championship 7-0


Osprey head coach Derek Marinatos finally earns an Atlantic Sun Conference championship after reaching the final match for the third straight year. Photo by Christian Ayers.

Al Huffman

Photos by Christian Ayers

The UNF men’s soccer team saved their best game for last as they beat USC Upstate 7-0 in the Atlantic Sun Conference championship match Nov. 14. The Ospreys advance to their first ever NCAA Division 1 tournament with the win.

The last time the UNF men’s soccer team faced off against USC Upstate, the Ospreys shut out the Spartans 2-0 in the last match of the regular season. The teams met again at a packed Hodges Stadium for the Atlantic Sun championship.

The Ospreys took a relatively early lead when sophomore defender Aidan D’Mello scored the first goal of the match at 23 minutes. Frustration started to show from the Spartan players when they were booked with two yellow cards less than three minutes later.

The first booking was on Upstate senior midfielder Joshua Jenkins for upending UNF goalie Kyle Nasta. The second yellow card came after several USC players complained to the referee, but only junior midfielder Rinaldi Alphonse was given a card.

With three minutes left in the first half, UNF senior Camilo Garcia increased the Osprey lead to 2-0. The game was briefly interrupted by a pant-less streaker after the score, but the rest of the half ended relatively quietly after 42 minutes of intense play.

Right out of halftime, senior forward Helge Pietschmann scored a goal at 47 minutes. The goal gave UNF a commanding 3-0 lead.

To make matters worse for the Spartans, Pietschmann netted two more goals within the next six minutes to merit the first hat trick ever in the Atlantic Sun Conference championship match.

“I honestly didn’t know that was the first [hat trick in the A-Sun championship] ever so that’s great,” Pietschmann said. “We knew if we prepared right we were going to win, but we had no idea it was going to be this great.”

The assault didn’t stop. UNF’s next goal came at 55 minutes thanks to freshman midfielder Ivan Castro. The goal put the Ospreys up 6-0.

The Ospreys just chewed out the clock after that until freshman forward Shane Nicholson scored a goal at 86 minutes. The Ospreys won with a final score of 7-0. After the game, a Gatorade-soaked Osprey head coach Derek Mariantos looked ahead to the tournament.

“Speechless,” Mariantos said. “To win our first championship the way we did with this crowd, this atmosphere, and this performance we couldn’t ask for anything more.”

The Ospreys earned a berth in the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Soccer tournament with the Atlantic Sun championship victory. The Osprey’s opening round opponent will be announced on Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. along with the entire NCAA tournament bracket.

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