By Official Florida FC
October is the month when collegiate soccer programs seek to catapult themselves into the conversation for conference championships. Titles may not be won this month, but the opportunity to play for titles will be earned this month.
Official Florida FC will look at how the state’s collegiate programs in both Division I and Division II stack up as the fixture list congests and results may dictate seasons.
UCF is No. 2 in the United Soccer Coaches rankings with a 6-1-2 record. The Knights recovered from a 1-0 road loss to unbeaten Marshall in West Virginia on Sept. 23 with conference wins over Kentucky and Georgia Southern.
UCF is tied with Old Dominion (5-1-5, 2-1-1) and South Carolina (4-5-2, 2-1-1) for second in the conference. The Knights travel to Old Dominion on Saturday and travel to Columbia on Oct. 22.
Marshall is running away with the regular season title. But, a second-place finish in one of the toughest conferences in men’s soccer should set up the Knights for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Central defender Zane Bubb has marshaled a defense that has produced consecutive shutouts. Senior forward Lucca Dourado leads the offense with six goals in nine matches. Opponents that key on Dourado may be surprised as eight different players have scored in nine matches.
Florida International is another nationally ranked program that is near the top of its conference. The Panthers (6-2-3, 4-0-1) were No. 23 in the latest United Soccer Coaches poll and atop the American.
The Panthers are unbeaten in their last five matches. A scheduling quirk means they have a non-conference game at Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Myers on Oct. 17.
FIU won the American conference tournament title in 2022. Its chances of adding a regular season title to that triumph would be aided by a result at home against second-placed Charlotte (6-2-1, 4-1) on Oct. 27.
A derby match against Florida Atlantic on Oct. 20 may go a long way in determining the postseason fate of both programs.
FAU (3-5-3, 2-3) is fifth in the conference. Only the top six teams qualify for the conference tournament.
South Florida (3-7, 1-3) is eighth in the nine-team league. The Bulls have everything in front of them. Temple (2-5-3, 1-2-1) occupies the sixth spot in the conference. USF travels to Philadelphia on Saturday. The Bulls also host winless UAB on Oct. 21 and end the season at home against Florida Atlantic on Nov. 1.
A trio of Florida programs – Florida Gulf Coast, Stetson and Jacksonville – look primed to qualify for the ASUN Conference Tournament. In their way is a Lipscomb program that has only lost one conference match at home over the last three seasons.
Six teams qualify for the conference tournament. Florida Gulf Coast (3-3-4, 2-0-2) may be unbeaten in conference, but must travel to Nashville this weekend to face Lipscomb (6-2-3, 4-0-0).
Four points separate second-place Florida Gulf Coast from sixth place Central Arkansas.
Stetson (5-4-3, 2-1-1) is formidable in DeLand, but has won only one of its five games away from Volusia County. The Hatters are third in the conference; but just lost to Division II powerhouse Embry-Riddle in a local derby.
Jacksonville University (3-6-3, 1-0-3) have their fate in their hands. The Dolphins head to Charlotte this weekend to face Queens (2-7-2, 0-4), and close the regular season by hosting Bellarmine (3-2-6, 1-1-2) on Oct. 21 and traveling to conference-leading Lipscomb on Oct. 28.
North Florida (2-5-4, 0-3-1) is in seventh, out of eight teams. But, the Ospreys’ last three conference matches are against the teams currently in the fifth, sixth and eighth positions. If UNF can score goals – they have conceded only six goals in four conference matches – they might be able to play their way into the conference tournament.