Men’s soccer breaks through, picks up first win of season

Riley Platt, Sports Editor

BOCA RATON, Fla. – The University of North Florida (UNF) men’s soccer scored only one goal through six winless performances, but none of that mattered on Tuesday when they won their first match of the season against the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Owls.

The UNF Ospreys had a rough time getting on the scoreboard early in the 2022 season. Plenty of chances were created, but nothing ever found the back of the net. This inability to convert in the final third plagued the team, resulting in a 0-6 record. 

Getting shots off has not been an issue for UNF. In fact, the Ospreys outshot Stetson 7-2 on Saturday but still lost the match 2-0. Things were a bit different on Tuesday against the Owls, though. Through the first half, the two teams accounted for just three shots combined. Chances were at a premium, and it was clear that the most advantageous team would come out on top.

The first 45 minutes came and went with no goals to speak of. Though the action heated up in the opening stages of the second half, the match remained scoreless. Similar to last week’s loss to Georgia Southern, this would change about 25 minutes later. This time, UNF was on the right side of fortune.

Soccer players leaps into the air, preparing to direct the ball with his head.
UNF forward Joaquin Acuna has never been one to shy away from headers, something that came in handy on Tuesday vs. FAU. (Justin Nedrow)

UNF scorched their way towards the box, with midfielder Michael Carrero sending a crosser into striking range in the 74th minute. It found the forehead of forward Joaquin Acuna, who sent it past the keeper to put the Ospreys up 1-0. This not only gave UNF the lead, but it also put an end to the streak of 470 consecutive minutes of scoreless play.

They may have had the lead, but the job wasn’t finished. There was still plenty of game left to be played, and their opponent didn’t let off the gas. It wasn’t easy, but the Ospreys held on to secure a 1-0 victory, their first of the 2022 season.

Following last week’s loss to Stetson, head coach Derek Marinatos stressed the importance of his players not letting negative results get them down. All of their hard work finally came to fruition, with their coach expressing his excitement following the game.

“Our guys battled and played for each other and bought into what we asked them to do,” Marinatos said. “We were fortunate to come away with a 1-0 win.”

A 1-6 record isn’t eye-popping, but it’s an improvement nonetheless. The Ospreys will need to carry this momentum into a trio of road matches, with their next home game not coming until Oct. 15 against Bellarmine. Tuesday’s win could be the key to the Ospreys turning this season around. It’s just a matter of whether they can continue to convert on opportunities.


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