Men’s Soccer: Owls advance to first semifinal since 2007 following a penalty shootout victory over tournament hosts Charlotte

FAU played and won a penalty shootout for the first time since 2007.


Filip Jauk converted his penalty kick in FAU’s quarterfinal victory in the penalty shootout against Charlotte on Nov. 10, 2021. Photo courtesy of FAU Athletics.

Richard Pereira, Sports Editor

FAU men’s soccer (8-6-3, 2-4-2 C-USA) entered Charlotte, N.C. as the six-seed for its quarterfinal appearance in the Conference USA Tournament to take on hosts Charlotte (10-5-1, 5-3 C-USA), the third-seed, on Wednesday night.

What occurred was a game to remember for the Owls as they reached their first semifinal since 2007, when FAU won the Atlantic Soccer Conference championship.

FAU entered the game with a defensive mindset; while the team let Charlotte control possession for a majority of the game, they put constant pressure that kept the 49ers at bay the entire game.

In the 18th minute, freshman forward Pontus Steffensen got the first shot on target in the game, but Charlotte’s goalkeeper Daniel Kuzemka denied the attempt.

Charlotte only had one shot on goal before it entered halftime. FAU disrupted the 49ers’ rhythm with the ball and therefore, Charlotte was not able to consistently create scoring opportunities.

The 49ers began to force FAU’s hand as they took six shots; none of them went into the net, but the Owls scrambled to keep themselves from conceding a goal. 

Before normal time ended, Charlotte had six shots compared to FAU’s two as the 49ers’ last shot from Jaxson Watermann in the 90th minute nearly won them the game, but it went off the left side of the post. Due to that, both teams had to play in extra time.

While both extra time periods had nothing come to fruition, FAU maintained its defensive composure despite Charlotte’s multiple attempts to create a game-winning goal. As a result, a penalty shootout was needed to decide the victors between the Owls and 49ers.

Penalty kicks were where the Owls shined brightest as senior forward Ivan Mykhailenko, freshman forward Filip Jauk, junior defender Tom Abrahamsson, junior midfielder Jose Alastuey, and senior midfielder Alonso Coello Camarero all converted their penalty kicks.

On Charlotte’s end, the team only made three of its four attempts. The second shot from Joe Brito was saved by FAU’s senior goalkeeper Neil Strauber as it granted the Owls the prestigious victory.

The Owls will now take on two-seeded Marshall in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Richard Pereira is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Rich26Pereira.