The #9-ranked UCF Knights men’s soccer team are the regular season champions of the American Athletic Conference.
We raise the trophy! #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/1i0zgQQOe4— UCF Men's Soccer (@UCF_MSoccer) November 3, 2018
The Knights defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats 1-0 in the regular season finale to finish 12-2-2, 5-1-1 in The American, clinching the conference regular season title, and edging out SMU for the top spot by virtue of the Knights’ 2-0 head-to-head victory over the Mustangs in September.
Second-year head coach Scott Calabrese is the first UCF Men’s Soccer head coach to win a conference title since Bob Winch in 2004, and is the fastest UCF Men’s Soccer coach to bring home hardware in program history. His reaction:
Coach is one happy guy tonight #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/AG660IBIB2— UCF Men's Soccer (@UCF_MSoccer) November 3, 2018
Sophomore Louis Perez scored the winner in the 83rd minute, ripping a missile from outside the 18 to give the Knights the lead:
LOUIEEEE! We take a 1-0 lead with 4 minutes left to play! #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/hMJrPUAKAJ— UCF Men's Soccer (@UCF_MSoccer) November 3, 2018
By virtue of winning the regular season title, UCF will host the American Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer Tournament next week on campus, and will hold the #1 seed.
It’s UCF’s first regular season conference title in men’s soccer since 2004, when the Knights were in the Atlantic Sun Conference under Bob Winch. The Knights pulled the double that year, winning the A-Sun Tournament, and then making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. That was also their last conference tournament championship.
UCF last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2011 under Bryan Cunningham.
Hard work paid off!#ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/s8D7GniIBC— UCF Men's Soccer (@UCF_MSoccer) November 3, 2018
Since the Knights’ delayed home opener on October 9th of last season, UCF has gone 19-3-3, with two of those losses happening in overtime.
The Knights are currently 10th in the RPI, which means they may have a shot at hosting an NCAA first-round match, and possibly beyond.
The American Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer Tournament starts Tuesday with the first round games at the UCF Soccer Complex. UCF has a bye through the first round, and will play in the semifinals on Thursday. The Championship will be on Saturday on ESPN3.