The Golden Hurricane men’s team advances to the semifinal round of the American Athletic Conference tournament with a penalty-kick victory against UCF.
The game was very even throughout, as each team had quality, threatening attacking possession.
Barry Hadji opened the scoring for the Knights half an hour in, as he played through the Tulsa defensive line and successfully dribbled around goalkeeper Jake McGuire to pass the ball into the open net.
Shortly after halftime, Lesley Nchanji equalized for the Golden Hurricane. Cole Poppen sent a cross into the box that found Juan Sanchez, who headed it closer to the center of the box, where Nchanji was there to head in the goal.
The tied score didn’t last long. Only a minute later, Hadji again broke through the Golden Hurricane back line for another breakaway goal.
From this point on, Tulsa played very aggressively on offense, as their season was on the line. They created many opportunities, including multiple shots that hit the frame of the goal.
In the 80th minute, they earned a corner. Zach Jackson sent the ball into the box, and Michael Mitrik was there to put home the goal.
Regulation ended at 2–2, and the teams headed into sudden death overtime. The overtime periods saw a lot of attacking play, but neither team could convert any of their chances to take the victory. After the overtime periods ended, a penalty kick followed, because the result of the match couldn’t be a tie since the game was a tournament game.
The shootout couldn’t have started much better for Tulsa, as the Knights missed their first shot high over the crossbar, and McGuire saved the second shot. Zack Stavrou, Ray Saari, Geoffrey Dee and Cole Poppen all scored their penalty kicks, and the Golden Hurricane won the shootout 4–2 to advance in the tournament.
Their next opponent is the No. 1 seed in the tournament, SMU. They play on Friday, November 13 in Tampa, Florida.