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Akil DeFreitasSophomore Akil DeFreitas found the back of the net for the second and third time this season for the University of North Florida in Friday’s match against East Tennessee State, lifting the Ospreys to a 2-1 double-overtime win over the Bucs in both teams’ Atlantic Sun Conference opener.

“Winning the conference opener is a big boost of confidence for us,” UNF head coach Ray Bunch said. “Though we were able to finish strong for the win, we still came out with a slow start, which has been our major problem this season.”

UNF (4-5-0, 1-0-0 A-Sun) escaped with the victory when DeFreitas scored his second goal of the contest with only four minutes remaining in the second overtime period. In the two overtimes, the Ospreys took two shots while the Bucs managed just one.

In its premier A-Sun match, ETSU (4-4-0, 0-1-0) took the lead a little more than 10 minutes in when Russell Thompson found the back of the net. The Bucs outshot the Ospreys, 12-5, in the first half, but each team scored just once in the period, sending the match to the break tied at 1-1.

“They dominated the first half,” Bunch said. “We were fortunate to be tied going into the break. They could have easily had a two-goal lead.”

With his team trailing by a goal, DeFreitas scored the equalizer in the 29th minute. Coupled with a strong presence in net by freshman Jullian Beau, DeFreitas’ goal allowed the Ospreys a clean slate entering the second half, where UNF outshot ETSU, 9-6.

“We came out as a much better team in the second half and that carried over into overtime,” Bunch said. “Mentally, we seemed very strong after halftime, which helped our confidence in overtime. However, if we are going to be successful in conference play this season, we absolutely must learn to begin the game the way we began the second half today.”

In his first start of the season, Beau finished with nine saves for the Ospreys, who continue conference play on Sunday with a visit to USC Upstate at 2:30