The No. 24-ranked UCF Knights Men’s Soccer team clinched a third straight American Athletic Conference regular season title with a 3-0 win at Memphis to win to win 6th straight game. They locked up the No. 1 seed to host the American Conference Championship next week.
The Knights had to wait as the match was delayed for two-and-a-half hours due to weather. But UCF would not be denied on this night as Gino Vivi scored in the 25th minute to give the Knights a 1-0 lead before halftime.
In the 2nd half, The Knights opened it up with Hattabiou Barry scoring in the 56th minute to give UCF a 2-0 lead.
Vivi would put the finishing touch on it in the 64th minute with his second goal of the night (and third in the last two matches) to wrap up a third straight regular season title.
Josiah with the feed, Gino with the finish! pic.twitter.com/kTmomboIe8— UCF Men's Soccer (@UCF_MSoccer) April 10, 2021
It is the first time in program history that UCF has won three straight regular season conference championships. But this one is one of most memorable as the Knights battled injuries to key players early in the season, losing Luis Perez who signed a pro contract, and a 1-3 start, to win six straight to finish 7-3 and on top of the league once again.
It is not only Head Coach Scott Calabrese’s best coaching job at UCF, but it will go down as one of the greatest coaching jobs any UCF head coach in any sport has ever pulled off.
During the six-match winning streak, UCF only gave up two goals. Goalkeeper Yannik Oettl recorded another clean sheet and continues to cement his legacy at UCF as one of the greatest goalkeepers in program history along with UCF Athletics Hall-of-Famer Winston DuBose, Rick Bratincevic and Sean Johnson. It is also no coincidence the win streak and stellar defensive play started with return of defenseman Yanis Leerman from injury.
Up next for UCF is hosting the American Conference Championship tournament starting on Thursday. The Knights will face either Temple or SMU in the semifinal, with Tulsa also in the conference tournament as the No. 2 seed. The winners on Thursday will advance to the championship match on Saturday night with the winner getting the automatic bid into the 2021 NCAA Tournament, which this season is a 36-team field this season instead of the usual 48 and will be held in Cary, North Carolina.