A 70-minute rain delay during the first half of Wednesday’s soccer match between UCF and Kentucky proved to be a turning point for the mens’ soccer team. The No. 10 Knights defeated No. 21 Kentucky 2-1 in overtime at the UCF Soccer Complex after midfielder Warren Creavalle scored with just under two minutes to play in the extra period.
Kentucky scored its only goal of the match 13 minutes into the game after UCF keeper Shawn Doyle wasn’t able to grab a high cross. The ball got loose, and Kentucky forward Tyler Riggs put it in the net.
The rain delay started with eight minutes remaining in the first half due to bad weather conditions in the area. It lasted for 70 minutes, and the Knights used every minute to their advantage.
UCF head coach Bryan Cunningham showed his frustration with his team during the delay.
Cunningham said a lot of things were said during the recess.
“There was a lot of yelling, so I can’t really tell you what I said, but I challenged them to be the team that we are capable of being, and they came out and did that.”
Creavalle believe that the weather delay was a blessing in disguise for the Knights, who improved to 7-1-1 on the season.
“It actually, in my opinion, worked in our favor because we were down and it gave us a chance to get our heads together before the half,” Creavalle said. “He [Coach] got into us, and we responded well.”
It didn’t take long for the Knights to respond. Not even two minutes after play resumed, forward McKauly Tulloch, who returned from his two-game suspension, scored his 10th goal of the season to tie the game.
In the second half, both defenses were able to limit the open shot opportunities, which led to an overtime period.
With a minute and a half remaining in the overtime period, Nik Robson lined a corner kick into Creavalle, who was able to volley it into the back of the net to complete the comeback win.
It was the team’s first victory over the Wildcats (7-4-1) since 2005.
Coach Cunningham was proud to see his team respond and fight back after giving up an early goal.
“I’m just so proud of my team tonight. I don’t know who we were in the first 30 minutes of that game,” said Cunningham. “Giving up a goal like we did was awful and the fact that we came out of that timeout from the weather delay a whole different team. We just battered Kentucky there, and I was so happy that we got the win because we deserved to win tonight.”
The Knights resume play on Saturday against No. 21 SMU at 8 p.m. in Dallas.