Two second-half goals made the difference in the University of North Florida men’s soccer match against Longwood on Tuesday afternoon when the Ospreys battled back from an early one-goal hole to pick up a non-conference win, 3-1.
UNF (7-6-0) slipped into the one-goal deficit one minute and 22 seconds into the contest. Longwood (6-5-1) opened the scoring when Brian Germain took a pass from Martin Vickerton and from 12 yards lobbed a shot over Osprey keeper Tony Restino, who was charging to make a play on the ball.
At the 24:48 mark, sophomore Akil DeFreitas evened the score at 1-1 by netting his team-best sixth goal of the season. Fellow sophomore Adam O’Neill set up the play with a cross from the right side of the box to the left side of the net, where DeFreitas made a sliding effort to punch the ball in from three yards.
“In the second half, we came out much stronger than we did to begin the game,” Bunch said. “We did a much better job of controlling the tempo and were able to capitalize on that.”
The Ospreys put the go-ahead goal on the scoreboard in the 75th minute with an unassisted goal by junior Steven Lowenthal, his second on the year. With a little more than five minutes left to play, freshman Theo Fulger was fouled in the box while attempting to add an insurance goal for UNF.
The foul set up O’Neill’s third penalty kick opportunity of the season, which he converted. He has scored on all three attempts, and all three have been at Hodges Stadium. The two previous were game-winners in overtime.
Restino finished with five saves on the afternoon, none bigger than his last. With a little more than 10 minutes to play and the score at 2-1, the Lancers mounted an attack that looked to even the score. Chernor Diallo took a shot from 15 yards that was deflected but still heading for the net. Backpedaling and sliding to the ground, Restino reached up and nabbed the ball to preserve UNF’s one-goal edge.
Lowenthal took five shots for the Ospreys with two on goal while O’Neill shot five times, twice on target. DeFreitas scored on his only shot in the match. UNF totaled 10 shots while Longwood fired 11 with six on goal.
The Ospreys wrap up their Atlantic Sun Conference road schedule this weekend, traveling to Florida Gulf Coast on Friday for a 5 p.m. kickoff and Stetson on Sunday for a 4 p.m. showdown.