Junior midfielder Yoni Sorokin sunk the golden goal into the lower left-hand corner of the net to lead the UCF Knights to victory over the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in double overtime Sunday night.
The midfielder closed out the game for the Knights with the final goal of three, as UCF won 3-2.
Sorokin registered his first goal of the season off a penalty kick for UCF (4-1-1) against the UTRGV Vaqueros (3-1-1) Sunday night at the UCF Soccer Complex.
“As soon as the referee said it was a penalty kick, I was obviously happy because these moments and the pressure throughout the whole game is why myself and other athletes play,” Sorokin said. “It’s fun and I always enjoy it.”
The first goal of the night came from senior forward Cal Jennings only two minutes into the game, where he swiftly knocked the ball into the lower left corner off of a quick assist by senior forward Richard Amon and sophomore defender Yanis Leerman.
Andre Hernandez quickly followed with a goal of his own in the third minute of the game off of a corner with assists from senior defender Jonathan Dean and junior midfielder Louis Perez. The goals put the Knights up 2-0 within only four minutes of the kickoff.
“Early in the game I thought we came out really fast where we were all over them and we had multiple opportunities to score which was obviously great to see,” Jennings said.
UCF did have what seemed to be a bump in the road on their way to victory against UTRGV.
Although UCF dominated possession wise in the first half, with six shots on goal and three corner kicks, the Vaqueros had the clear upper hand in the second half. With 12 shots on goal from UTRGV, forward Kyle Edwards and defender Lukas Moser of UTRGV tied the game 2-2 as with little time on the clock.
“We got on the board really quickly but UTRGV, which is a very well coached and very disciplined team, came up with a really good game plan at half time to disrupt us and get back in the game,” UCF head coach Scott Calabrese said.
Possession went back and forth in the first round of overtime, with one shot on goal and two corner kicks by the Knights, but no score, before the golden goal ended it all in double overtime.
This is the first time that the two teams have met and Jennings said that he hopes they meet again as the Knights progress throughout the season.
Jennings registered his 4th goal of the season while sophomore defender Andres Hernandez registered his 1st goal of the season.
“Patience with the ball and moving it around with a speed to play where we open up opportunities and create more chances is something I feel we can really improve on,” Jennings said.
Calabrese also spoke of communication and connection after the game, saying that the team’s bond is going to be most important in situations of adversity, hoping that they will lean on each other and come out stronger than before.
UCF now gets ready to continue their three-game homestand with a match against Virginia Commonwealth University (1-2) on Friday at 7 p.m. at the UCF Soccer Complex.