JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (unfospreys.com) - North Florida men's soccer (3-7-4, 2-3-2 ASUN) capitalized in a big way on senior night, as sixth-year defender and captain LJ Estes put one in the back of the net in the 78th minute to secure a 1-0 victory over Liberty (3-6-5, 1-4-2 ASUN) on Friday evening.
The Ospreys were locked up in a defensive battle through the first half, but they made the most of their opportunity on a corner kick to put out the Flames and add three points in a crucial conference match. UNF finished the game outshooting Liberty, 19-6, while not permitting a single shot on goal.
Estes scored the third goal of his career in his 69th-career game played, which is now tied for second in UNF's Division I history. He also made his 58th start as an Osprey, which also lands him in the top four in program history.
UNF now stands tied for fifth in the ASUN standings, three points ahead of seventh place Liberty. The top six teams make the ASUN postseason.
78' | LJ Estes (Luke Barforosh & Herbie Steigelman) - UNF
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Bryson Smith ripped a shot in the 10th minute to open the game on offense, but it was blocked from the top of the box.
- The Ospreys put the pressure on early in the match, outshooting Liberty, 4-1, through the first 21 minutes.
- With 16 minutes left in the first half, Bendeguz Burka had a free kick opportunity well from the box that went just left of the goal.
- Jake Schoffstall had an opportunity before the break, but his chance went just high of the crossbar, as the Ospreys went into the half with an 11-2 shot advantage.
- Within the first minute of the second half, Estes attempted a bicycle kick inside the box but it went directly to the keeper to stay scoreless.
- Liberty had a header chance in the 59th minute, but UNF forced it just off the mark.
- The seniors came up clutch on a late corner kick in the second half, as Herbie Steigelman sent the ball into Estes, who caught the deflection off Luke Barforosh, in the 78th minute to take the 1-0 lead.
- The Flames had one last gasp with a shot in the 86th minute, but it went off the crossbar to avert an equalizer and secure a much-needed three points that inches the Ospreys closer to ASUN postseason play.
North Florida | 3-7-4 (2-3-2)
Liberty | 3-6-5 (1-4-2)
- Estes scored his first goal since playing NJIT on Oct. 27, 2018, in what was a 4-1 victory.
- The sixth-year captain also recorded his career-high in shots taken with four total on the night, as well as three shots on goal.
- The Ospreys have exploded on offense for a combined 37 shots over the past two games, which is the most in back-to-back matches since 2016.
- UNF held its opponent without a shot on goal for the first time since last season's match against Central Arkansas.
- Five different players had multiple shots on Friday night, which is the most on the season for the Ospreys.
The Ospreys will play in their regular season finale at home against Jacksonville in the River City Rumble on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m.
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