Men’s soccer takes inaugural meeting against ASUN’s newest member

Riley Platt, Sports Editor

The University of North Florida (UNF) men’s soccer team clashed with the new Atlantic Sun (ASUN) program, Queens University of Charlotte, for the first time on Monday, taking the match in a low-scoring affair.

The Queens Royals made the jump to NCAA Division I starting this season and have had a rough time so far, starting 1-7. The 2022 slate hadn’t been kind to the Ospreys either, who entered with a record of 1-6-1. It was a competitive battle, but UNF capitalized on a corner kick early in the second half in what proved to be the match’s defining moment.

Queens had the UNF defense on edge early, with a header nearly missing just five minutes into the game. Moments later, things got even scarier for the Ospreys. A rough collision took place between goalkeeper Micah Gun and midfielder Ethan Ash on a shot by the Royals. Thankfully, the two got up under their own power, with Gun staying in the match.

A soccer player running toward a ball
UNF midfielder Zach Board played a key role in Monday’s win, with his 50th minute header serving as the winning goal. (Justin Nedrow)

Just twenty minutes later, Gun made a nice save on a header, keeping things deadlocked 0-0. UNF responded with a nice throw-in by defender Jake Schoffstall that could have led to something if not for timely defense by the Royals.

Excluding a few minor chances here and there, the latter minutes of the first half came and went without much noise. This came to an abrupt halt with roughly twenty seconds left on the clock when Queens forward Mario Goic found himself with an open lane to the box. Goic let off a shot, but it sailed over the crossbar and sent the scoreless match into halftime.

Both teams came out of the break with renewed energy, which particularly benefited the Ospreys. They were awarded a corner kick in the 50th minute, which was taken by veteran defender Herbie Steigelman. A nicely-placed kick found midfielder Zach Board, who headed it past the keeper to give UNF a 1-0 lead.

The Ospreys now had a lead, but the job was far from finished. With forty minutes remaining, merely killing time wasn’t a feasible option. Queens never relented, sending attacks in waves. The diciest of these came in the final 15 minutes of the match.

Chaos erupted in front of the net when the Royals looked destined to get some sort of score, but gutsy defense from the Ospreys saw them remain unscathed for the time being. Roughly five minutes later, UNF’s Schoffstall drew a yellow card on a defensive shove. The ensuing free kick was by far the climax of Monday’s match.

The shot was enough to put fans of both squads on the edge of their seats as it glided through the night sky toward Micah Gun. His outstretched hands got a piece of it, redirecting it just enough to clip the crossbar. The ball was then cleared, as the Ospreys narrowly avoided disaster.

The Royals put together one last chance together with a screamer across the box. Thankfully for Gun, it sailed wide of his right post. Things were tense in the final few minutes, but the Ospreys held on to secure a 1-0 win. 

This marks the first win in ASUN play for UNF this season and their second overall victory of the season. They’ll be back in action on Saturday in a road match against Florida Gulf Coast, looking to expand on this momentum.


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