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Men’s soccer stumbles out of the gate

The UNF men’s soccer team did not start off the regular season as well as it hoped it would after losing its first two regular season matches of the 2010 season Sept. 10-11 at the UAB “Soccer for a Cure” Classic in Birmingham, Ala.

The Ospreys, who were outscored 10 to one over the weekend, struggled throughout the entire tournament. Their first match came Sept. 10 against Memphis where the Ospreys lost 6-0. The Ospreys looked to rebound Sept. 11 against host UAB, but fell short, losing 4-1.

“Obviously it was a disappointing start,” said senior forward and team captain Adam O’Neill. “We got off the blocks very slow. We just conceded really silly goals.”

The Ospreys met an early challenge against Memphis after junior goalkeeper Andrew Calise had to leave the match just six minutes in with a strained quadricep. With Calise out for the rest of the game, freshman goalkeeper John Davison had to come in for the Ospreys. Davison struggled in his collegiate debut, allowing all six goals. Davison did have three saves for the Ospreys.

“Obviously losing your experienced starting goalkeeper after 10 minutes hurt a lot,” said head coach Ray Bunch. “That put a little bit of doubt in the players’ minds.”

Memphis took advantage of the young goalkeeper, scoring two goals before halftime and adding four more in the second half. Freshman goalkeeper Tyler Willets came in late in the second half for the struggling Davison and recorded one save in just over 13 minutes of action.

Freshmen Ricky Lawrence, Josh Ciambella and Austin Doyle, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, each had a shot on goal against Memphis. Junior transfer Enrique Haeussler and O’Neill both added shots on goal for the Ospreys. However, none of them could reach the back of the net.

The next night against UAB, Bunch had to choose between two freshmen to start at goalkeeper due to Calise’s injury. Bunch went with Willets, who allowed four goals on 20 shot attempts by the Blazers, 11 of them coming on goal.

The Ospreys did get their first goal of the season when O’Neill put a pass from Lawrence into the back of the net in the 84th minute of the game.

O’Neill moved within three goals of Victor Duncan (2002-04) for fourth place on the Ospreys’ all-time scoring list with his 22nd goal of his collegiate career. The goal also gave O’Neill his 51st career point, which puts him at seventh all-time for UNF. O’Neill needs just one point to move into sixth place that Nate Silva (1991-94) currently holds.

Despite being outscored 10 to one throughout the course of the tournament, the Ospreys felt the scores of the games did not represent how well they actually played.

“Things conspired against us,” Bunch said. “I think we did alright, we gave a good count of ourselves. If we improve each game as much as we improved from the first night we won’t have anything to worry about. Obviously the score doesn’t suggest it but the improvement was night and day.”

Lawrence, who recorded his first collegiate point with his assist on O’Neill’s goal, also felt like the Ospreys played better than the score indicated.

“The score didn’t really represent how well we played,” Lawrence said. “We came out the second game and proved that we were better than we played in the first game.”

The Ospreys look to improve before their next match and feel as though they can turn things around if the just make fewer mistakes, O’Neill said. They aren’t throwing in the towel after two nonconference losses to start the season.

“We’re not keeping our heads down,” O’Neill said. “We need to defend better from set pieces. I feel like if we cut out the silly mistakes, then we’re going to do fine. We’re just going to go into our next game on Wednesday, and if we get a win there, we’ll get our season back on track, so no panicking, yet.”

Bunch also said if the Ospreys can limit their mistakes, they can get right back on track. He said they we’re not aggressive enough and missed out on goal opportunities by not shooting the ball.

“We have to be more on the same page as a team,” Bunch said. “When we attack we need to show confidence. We need to shoot. I don’t know what it is at the moment, it’s like no one wants to take the responsibility to shoot. There’s times when we’re right there when we should be shooting, and no one wants to take responsibility of that.”

Junior Julian Botella joined Doyle as the only two Ospreys to be named to the All-Tournament Team.

The Ospreys take the field tonight, Sept. 15 for their regular season home opener against Georgia Southern at Hodges Stadium at 7 p.m.

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