The No. 8 UCF men’s soccer team defeated the No. 12 Missouri State Bears 2-1 in overtime to win the second round of the 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship at the UCF Soccer and Track Complex Sunday evening.
The No. 9 nationally seeded Knights will now advance into the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history and face the No. 8 nationally seeded SMU Mustangs.
Just 42 seconds into the extra period, UCF freshman forward Gino Vivi sent the ball to senior forward Cal Jennings who made it past Missouri State redshirt junior goalie Michael Creek to score, securing the win for the Knights.
“We were confident going into overtime — we were getting a lot of chances and knew we just had to keep our foot on the pedal,” Jennings said. “The ball got through to Gino and my eyes kinda lit up. I figured that was the moment, ran in hard and he served a great ball.”
The Bears were the first to score with sophomore midfielder Aadne Bruseth leading Missouri State to the 1-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game. UCF got the equalizer from junior midfielder Yoni Sorokin with a shot in the goal off his head in the 28th minute.
“I’m lucky enough to be able to do this. I think it’s every player’s dream to do it, just come in and help the team — it’s been a really good moment,” Sorokin said. “I saw the ball flying from Gino, and I saw the opportunity to go and score and I was like I’ll take it.”
UCF men’s soccer head coach Scott Calabrese praised the team for their resilience and ability to fight hard into overtime.
“The team was so good tonight … Missouri State, they hadn’t lost a game all season. They’re such a tough team,” Calabrese said. “I was so proud of the way our guys were able, after a setback, to begin the game, to take control, to be brave, and to be themselves — I felt we created so many good chances, but anytime you play in a big match like this, they are always going to be tight.”
With the win, the Knights are 15-2-2 on the season and will look ahead as they prepare to face a familiar opponent in the Mustangs.
UCF previously faced SMU during the regular season where the two teams tied 3-3 after double overtime. The most recent matchup came earlier this month during the American Athletic Conference Championship, where the Knights were defeated by the Mustangs 0-1.
The No. 8 UCF Knights will face the No. 5 SMU Mustangs in the third round of the NCAA Championship that will be played at Westcott Field in Dallas on either Nov. 30 or Dec. 1.