Nashville, Tenn. – North Florida scored two goals in the first half and added three in the second to claim a 5-0 victory over USC Upstate in the first round of the A-Sun Men’s Soccer Tournament Wednesday night at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn. The Spartans ended their season with the loss.
North Florida (7-6-1) scored goals in the 8th and 34th minutes in the first half and the 74th, 78th and 88th minutes in the second half to secure the win. The Ospreys will advance to take on No. 1 seed and tournament host Lipscomb Friday night at 8 in the second semifinal match of the tournament. North Florida was able to bottle up A-Sun Player of the Year Marvin Schmiege, just as it had done in the regular season matchup, and held the Spartan junior midfielder without a shot in the game.
North Florida struck first to open a 1-0 lead in the 7th minute. Milan Kovacs played a ball to Jay Bolt on the right side of the box. Bolt placed a shot to the far post and put the ball into the net for the early lead. The goal came after Upstate got a couple of shots off earlier in the game, but couldn’t put it anything away.
Seven minutes later, Joe Brinckwirth put a shot on goal attempting to tie the game, but Osprey goalkeeper Kyle Nasta came up with the save. Nasta made a key save on Heiko Allmendinger’s shot five minutes later. Both shots had good pace and were difficult saves on a cold night with the game time temperature at 38 F.
After the early flurry of activity, the teams settled in for several minutes until North Florida put steady pressure on the Upstate defense later on in the half. The Ospreys got off three shots in a 2:30 span, but the Spartans defense and goalkeeper Jack Rubin thwarted the attempts. However, Upstate was not as lucky on the next shot a minute later.
After Upstate had appeared to clear the ball from deep in the box, Bolt gained control and sent a pass back into the box to Kovacs. Kovacs placed a shot from five yards out into the net for the Ospreys’ second goal of the half, opening a 2-0 lead in the 34th minute.
Upstate finished the half with four shots, placing all four on goal. Nasta finished with four saves for the Ospreys. UNF took eight shots with three being placed on goal.
North Florida managed to get just two shots off in the first 28 minutes of the second half. The second shot, though, put away any thoughts of an Upstate comeback. Camilo Garcia found Christopher Bush on the right side of the box and Bush placed a low shot toward goal. Rubin made a diving play to his right, but the ball glanced off his hands and into the goal to give the Ospreys a 3-0 lead in the 74th minute.
Four minutes later, Kovacs scored his second goal of the game as North Florida opened a 4-0 advantage. The Ospreys ended the scoring in the 88th minute when Simen Solstad scored on a rebounded shot from Max McDaniel to give the Ospreys a 5-0 lead.
North Florida finished the game with an 18-7 lead in shots. The Ospreys placed nine shots on goal, while Upstate placed four on goals. Upstate finished the year with a 4-10-1 record and tied the school’s Division I era record with 21 goals, nine of which were scored by Schmiege.