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UCF Sinks Men’s Soccer With Overtime Golden Goal

Head coach Jeff Cook’s organized Penn State team scored early and managed to frustrate the University of Central Florida’s dangerous attack Friday night, holding the Knights to a hard-fought draw at a goal a piece before conceding a 101st-minute goal from a corner kick to lose 2-1. 

How It Happened

Penn State opened its 2018 scoring account through freshman forward Jeremy Rafanello in the ninth minute. Attacking midfielder Callum Pritchatt chipped a perfectly weighted ball behind the UCF backline, and Rafanello, one-on-one with Knights goalkeeper Yannik Oettl, coolly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner of the net to score on his debut. 

UCF came close to equalizing in the 14th minute when forward Walker Dawkins broke away from the Nittany Lions’ defense. But Levine made a quick left-handed reaction save to keep the Lions in the lead. 

Solid defending from Levine, Ryan Gallagher and Mitchel Bringolf preserved Penn State’s shutout despite a flood of corners and attacking pressure from the Knights. But UCF equalized in the 44th minute via a towering Louis Perez header from a free kick. 

The program honored the late Walter Bahr, Penn State men’s soccer’s second winningest head coach, during halftime. 

Levine faced his first real test of the second half in the 64th minute, acrobatically denying UCF midfielder Yoni Sorkin’s curling top-corner shot. 

UCF continued to produce dangerous attacking opportunities, and outshot the Nittany Lions 12 to two in the second half. A mass off Penn State attackers almost connected with captain Aaron Molloy’s 86th minute free kick, but UCF’s defense was able to clear. Neither team was able to break the deadlock, forcing the match into overtime. 

Rafanello almost doubled his goal tally in the 95th minute, but his headed effort was off target. 

UCF’s golden goal came early in the second period of extra time, when Perez found the head of Ricardo Oliveros open at the back post from a corner kick, ending the match and handing the Nittany Lions their first loss of the season and a final score of 2-1. 

Player of the Match

Jeremy Rafanello | Freshman | Forward

The Delran, NJ native scored an impressive breakaway goal and created several opportunities against a compact defense.  

What’s Next?

Penn State (0-1) returns to Jeffrey Field Tuesday, August 28 at 7:00 p.m. to host Bowling Green University. 

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About the Author

Jim Davidson

Jim is a junior English and history major and the features editor for Onward State. He, like most of the Penn State undergraduate population, is from 'just outside Philadelphia,' and grew up in Spring City, Pennsylvania. He covers a variety of Penn State topics, but spends nine months of every year waiting for the start of soccer season. You can reach him via email at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @messijim.

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