ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's soccer team posted a huge victory Sunday at the UCF Soccer Complex as the Knights blanked No. 17 SMU for a 1-0 Conference USA win. Behind a strong defensive effort and a goal from Steven Lamberta, UCF snapped the Mustangs' nine-match unbeaten streak and handed the Mustangs their first loss since Sept. 2.
Lamberta recorded the game-winning goal in the 68th minute when he corralled a loose ball in the box, turned and fired the ball into the back of the net. Michael Russo and McKauly Tulloch assisted on the score, which was Lamberta's second of the season.
UCF (5-4-3, 2-1-0 C-USA) limited the Mustangs (8-3-2, 4-1-0) to seven shots, with only two on goal, which were both stopped by Sebastian Evers. The shutout was the second in a row for the Knights and their fourth in their last five games. SMU entered the game first in the C-USA standings.
"It was a great game. The fans got to see a good soccer game tonight. We were able to push the tempo a little bit in the second half," UCF head coach Bryan Cunningham said. "In the end, we were able to scratch and get the win."
The Knights were hosting a ranked team for the third time this season.
SMU's best scoring opportunity on the night came in the 79th minute when Brenden Lee dribbled past Evers and crossed the ball into the empty box, but Ben Hunt made a solid defensive play and knocked the ball away.
Both teams combined for only five shots in the first half. UCF had one good scoring look in the opening period, but Romario Williams' header off an Eduardo Jimenez free kick near the end of the half went high. Williams nearly scored in the second half after receiving a nifty feed from A.J. Nelson, but SMU's Jaime Ibarra made a diving save.
Ibarra finished with five saves as UCF recorded 11 total shots.
UCF will return to action next Sunday at Tulsa. The Knights will not play again at home until Oct. 24 when they host Memphis.