NASHVILLE – Playing its third match in seven days, #15 FGCU men’s soccer team (12-3-2, 4-1-1 ASUN) battled Lipscomb (9-5-2, 3-2-1 ASUN) to a 1-1 tie on Saturday night, with the result giving the Eagles the No. 2 seed and hosting responsibilities for the first two rounds of the ASUN Conference Tournament this coming week.
The Eagles received their goal just before the halftime break in the 42nd minute from midfielder Kamar Marriott before surrendering the advantage early in the 2nd half and hanging on for a vitally-important point.
FGCU will host a quarterfinal match between No. 3 seed Lipscomb and No. 6 seed Stetson on Thursday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. at the FGCU Soccer Complex. The winner of that game will then play FGCU in an ASUN Tournament semifinal on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m.
On the other side of the bracket, No. 1 seed North Florida will host No. 4 seed NJIT and No. 5 seed Jacksonville in a quarterfinal on Friday, Nov. 4, before playing either the Highlanders or Dolphins in the other semifinal on Sunday, Nov. 6. The highest remaining seed will host the ASUN Tournament Final on Saturday, Nov. 12. The date differentiation of the quarterfinals and semifinals is a result of the FGCU women’s soccer team hosting the ASUN Tournament on Friday and Sunday.
“It wasn’t the result we were looking for, but I’m glad we were at least able to get a point and be able to host an ASUN semifinal game next week in front of our home fans,” commented FGCU head coach Bob Butehorn. “Our guys were extremely tired and our bench was pretty thin. I’m really proud of the way they battled to at least get a point. Once we knew the UNF score (which started one hour before FGCU kicked off), we knew we just needed to get a result. Being able to get home and get some rest before playing in front of our home fans is vital, and we’re looking forward to it.”
After a back-and-forth first 40 minutes, the Eagles took the lead into the halftime break thanks to Marriott’s (Tampa, Fla./Heritage HS) first goal of the year – the 14th different goal scorer for FGCU this year. The junior headed down a corner off the foot of freshman Miguel Perez (Weston, Fla./Cypress Bay HS) to give FGCU the advantage just more than three minutes before the intermission.
Both keepers were tested in the opening 45 minutes as FGCU freshman Jared Brown (Aurora, Ontario/St. Maximilian Kolbe CHS) was forced to make four saves and Lipscomb keeper Christopher Zappia had five stops in the 1st half.
The Bisons scored the equalizer in the 52nd minute when Joe Kerridge laced a shot from about 30 yards out just inside the right post and past the diving effort of Brown.
The match remained squared through regulation as FGCU went to overtime for just the second time all year and first time in exactly two months, dating back to the Eagles battling Michigan to a 2-2 draw on Aug. 29.
In the final minute of the first overtime, Lipscomb had a great opportunity to potentially win the match with a free kick from just beyond the 18, but Brown made a diving save and punched Ivan Alvarado’s shot over the crossbar to the keep the game knotted at 1-1.
Lipscomb has now won a season-high five-straight games. The Bisons – along with FGCU and UNF – received two 1st-place votes in the ASUN Preseason Poll, and entered the match with an RPI just outside the top 50 in the nation.
FGCU came into the game leading the country in nearly every offensive category by a wide margin and continued that pace on Saturday as the Eagles completed a regular season without being shut out for the first time in program history.
The tie is the first in series history between FGCU and Lipscomb as the Eagles now hold a 7-3-1 all-time record versus the Bisons.
Despite the draw, FGCU concludes a dominant ASUN regular-season stretch in which it can claim a 40-5-5 record in all conference regular-season games since the start of the 2010 season. Out of a possible 150 points that could have been earned in that time, the Green and Blue have claimed an impressive 125 of them (83.3 percent).
FGCU is ranked #15 this week in the highly-respected College Soccer News National Poll, in addition to appearing at #20 in the NSCAA poll, which is the only poll the NCAA officially recognizes.
Next up for the Eagles – in addition to the start of the ASUN Tournament – is the announcement of the ASUN postseason awards early next week, followed by the start of the league tournament later in the week.
For up-to-the minute information and a behind-the-scenes look at the FGCU men’s soccer program, follow on Twitter @FGCU_MSoccer, Instagram @FGCU_MSoccer, Facebook /FGCUMSoccer and YouTube /FGCUAthletics.
FGCU is led by Bob Butehorn, who has coached six professional players and 54 ASUN All-Conference selections since FGCU started its program in 2007. In just five years of postseason eligibility, Butehorn has guided FGCU to three ASUN Tournament championships and NCAA Tournament appearances – in 2011, 2012 and 2014 – and has won an unprecedented six-straight ASUN regular-season championships. His teams have been ranked nationally on several occasions by multiple media outlets. Now in his 14th season as a head coach, Butehorn has a 127-93-27 (.569) overall record, 93-61-23 (.590) mark in his 10th season at FGCU and 52-18-7 (.721) record in ASUN contests.
SUPPORT THE CAUSE
FGCU Athletics sponsors events throughout the year to benefit the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and the Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), FGCU Athletics’ charities of choice. For more information, including how to make a contribution, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and utilize the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.