Austin Zelnik's NCAA D2 debut season ended last night in a heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat in the final of the Gulf South Conference Tournament. Zelnik was chosen as the UWF PK goalkeeper, but narrowly lost 6-5, despite keeping out the first pk from West Alabama. The game finished in a 1-1 tie, which officially means West Florida finish the season on a 10 game unbeaten streak.
In truth, Zelnik has had an up and down year. Highlights include shutout games against the Jamaica U21s, Cayman Islands and Cozumel of Mexico. All in all, Zelnik appeared in 5 different games and registered 65 minutes in the regular season conceding just once. The 6 ft 3, Miami native officially faced 10 shots on the season. This will have been a huge disappointment for Zelnik as he had high hopes of claiming the number 1 jersey after such a successful transition from Thomas University. His pre season figures were fantastic and gave him the much needed confidence to show he could hang with the best of them.
Zelnik will go into his senior year on the back of a strong spring season, knowing he has every chance of claiming the starting goalkeeping position as his own. Games against Tampa, Alabama-Huntsville, Spring Hill and AUM will serve as experience and allow him to push forward. The coach showed a tremendous amount of trust in choosing Zelnik to be the pk goalkeeper in their GSC tournament final game, and that should be all Zelnik needs to wet his appetite for 2017.
Contributing to UWF's end of season 10 game unbeaten run, both Zelnik and the rest of the UWF squad can be proud of there season. It's never a nice way to lose but after starting the season 1-4, its a great turnaround and huge credit must go to UWF for that. As always you can keep up to date with UWF and Zelnik, by simply following our Twitter page @SSUSAOfficial or following us on Facebook.