In the final regular season home match of the 2023 season, the Eagles hosted NCAA opponent, the University of Fort Lauderdale. The UFL Eagles entered tonight’s match winless in five of their last six matches. Only dressing seven field players and a goalkeeper, the Eagles handed the Eagles of the University of Fort Lauderdale their tenth defeat of the season, victorious by a five-goal, shutout fashion.
PA announcer, Logan Toothman, mentioned junior captain, Dakotah Barchus, named in the starting line-up for the first time since the home match against the University of West Florida on September 21st. While on the field, the Eagles stand undefeated with Barchus. Without him, the Eagles hold a 2-3-4 record. “Coming back, I didn’t know if I would be fit enough or if I would be even lacking in some areas” Barchus mentioned. “Although it was not a full ninety minutes and the other team only had eight players, I was overall happy with my performance tonight.”
Barchus‘ performance on the field appeared just as consistent as his production prior to his ankle injury. Defensively, Barchus remained a reliable mediator for both the attacking and defensive halves of the field. Offensively, Barchus placed 4 shots on frame, burying a wall pass in the 26th minute, delivered from junior Giovanni Pauliello.
“Having him back is such a huge confidence booster for our team,” mentioned Assistant Coach Matheus Canada. “He is such a reference for us in the midfield. When the ball comes to him, everybody on the field expects a quality touch and right play to come out of him.”
The Eagles’ offense immediately stood dominant from the kickoff. After three failed scoring attempts in the first fifteen minutes of the opening half, Reid Rhodes delivered a low-cross to junior Lourenco Goncalves for his ninth goal of the season. Freshman Nicholas Clark also punched in his fourth goal of the season, while dismantling the UFLE back-line in the process, with a nifty array of cutbacks and skill moves.
The Eagles accurate distribution contributed to more scoring opportunities in the second half. Junior Niwe Mugeni capitalized on his second scoring attempt for his seventh goal of the season. Goncalves also connected a through ball to junior Chase Hawkins for his second goal of the season. Due to a lack of personnel, the match concluded 25 minutes prior to standard regulation.
The Eagles anticipate traveling to Toccoa Falls, GA to compete in the first round of the NCCAA South Regional Tournament. The Eagles will face Trinity Baptist in the opening round, on Thursday evening at seven o’clock. If successful, the Eagles will face the winners of the Bob Jones v. Johnson University of Florida/Toccoa, Saturday morning at eleven o’clock for the South Region championship!
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