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#20 FGCU Ready For ASUN Championship Final

Published: November 11, 2016

Matchup: #20 FGCU (13-3-2) vs. Jacksonville (8-9-0)
When: Saturday, Nov. 12 | 7 PM | Fort Myers, Fla.
Links: Tickets | Video | Live Stats | Twitter
ASUN Championship: Tournament Bracket | Tournament Central
Promotion: Canned Food Drive
Coaches: Bob Butehorn (10th Season @ FGCU, 94-61-23; 14th Overall, 128-93-27) | Mauricio Ruiz (3rd Season @ Jacksonville, 13-33-1; Same Overall)

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Looking for its fourth ASUN Championship crown in just six seasons of eligibility, the 2nd-seeded and nationally-ranked #20 FGCU men’s soccer team hosts upstart 5th seed Jacksonville Saturday night at 7 from the FGCU Soccer Complex with an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament at stake.

HOW WE GOT HERE

FGCU is hosting the championship final thanks to a 3-2 double-overtime win over 3rd-seeded Lipscomb last Saturday night, and a 1-0 upset victory by Jacksonville against top-seeded North Florida Sunday night. Those semifinal scenarios left the Eagles as the highest remaining seed in the six-team tournament and consequently the hosting responsibilities.

The Eagles and Dolphins will be meeting for the first time in the ASUN Championship. FGCU has won the ASUN Championship each of the previous three times it has reached the title game (2011, 2012, 2014).

Tickets to Saturday’s primetime match are just $7 for adults and $5 for youth ages 12 and under. Children 2 and under are admitted free of charge, as are students of ASUN institutions with a valid school ID. Tickets can be purchased in advance by logging on to FGCUTickets.com or at the match.

Jacksonville began the single-elimination tournament by defeating 4th-seeded NJIT, 2-1, on UNF’s home pitch last Friday night before stunning their cross-city rival on Sunday. The Eagles – like the Ospreys – received an opening-round bye before hosting Lipscomb, which shut out 6th-seeded Stetson at The Nest last Thursday, 3-0.

The Green and Blue reached the ASUN Championship Final thanks to a Rielee Mohsin (Stuart, Fla./Nichols College/Martin County HS) header as the junior tallied the game-winning goal in the early stages of the 2nd overtime last Saturday night to propel the Eagles to the dramatic victory.

JU, meanwhile, scored in the 6th minute in its semifinal match with UNF and then withstood a constant barrage of shots by the Ospreys. North Florida finished the game with a 21-3 shot advantage – including a 14-2 edge in the 2nd half – as Dolphins’ goalkeeper Patrick Harding made seven saves. In the opening-round contest with NJIT, Harding made eight saves as JU was outshot by the Highlanders, 16-8.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

In addition to the ASUN’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, FGCU will also be playing for a potential at-large berth and tournament seeding. The Eagles enter the match with an official RPI of 37, a key determining factor in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Selection Committee’s criteria when determining the 48-team NCAA Tournament field. Jacksonville has an RPI of 90, while UNF – despite losing in the semifinals – is in a position for a potential at-large bid as well with an RPI of 35.

INSIDE THE MATCHUP

The regular-season meeting between FGCU and Jacksonville was originally scheduled for Oct. 8 but was postponed due to Hurricane Matthew. The match was rescheduled for Oct. 25, and the Eagles went to JU and claimed a 2-1 victory on the strength of a pair of 2nd-half goals. After Jacksonville took a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute, FGCU dominated the match as the Eagles attempted 14 of the game’s final 16 shots en route to a final shot advantage of 15-5.

After losing the first three meetings against JU and being out-scored in that timeframe, 9-1, FGCU has won the last seven in a row versus the Dolphins, out-scoring them, 20-5.

SCOUTING JACKSONVILLE

The last time the Dolphins advanced to the ASUN Championship Final they were crowned the 2008 champions in a 4-3 victory over former league member Campbell.

With 15 total saves through the first two games, Harding has notched the 3rd-most stops in ASUN Championship history. Harding leads the ASUN with a .785 save percentage, and he has recorded the 2nd-most saves in the conference this year with 62. His 1.11 goals-against average is also the 2nd-best in the ASUN.

Offensively, ASUN All-Freshman Team member Kai Bennett leads the Dolphins with 11 points off five goals and one assist – the lone JU player with double-figure points this year (four more than anyone else). ASUN Second Team member Alberto Escobedo is 2nd on the team with seven points coming from three goals and an assist – totals match by Ferreira.

FGCU ASUN CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY

Since becoming postseason eligible for the 2011 season, FGCU has claimed three of the five ASUN Championship titles it has been a part of, going 7-2-0 in nine contests. FGCU went 2-0 in 2011, 2012 and 2014 (1-0 so far in 2016) en route to tournament titles, with the losses coming in the 2013 semifinals as the No. 1 seed at home against 5th-seeded North Florida, and last year again in the semifinals as the top seed versus 4th-seeded USC Upstate in overtime.

FGCU’s seven ASUN Championship victories in only 5+ seasons are more than any other current team in the league with the exception of Stetson – which has 10 victories and has been playing in the postseason since 1985.

Below is a look at FGCU’s all-time ASUN Championship results:

2011 (No. 1 Seed | Johnson City, Tenn.)

Semifinals: 2-1 Win vs. No. 4 Mercer

Final: 1-0 Win vs. No. 6 ETSU

All-Tournament Team Members: Nathan Ingham (MVP), Xavier Silva, Josey Portillo, Scott Harrison, Cristian Raudales

 

2012 (No. 1 Seed | Fort Myers, Fla.)

Semifinals: 2-1 Win vs. No. 5 Lipscomb

Final: 1-0 Win vs. No. 2 Mercer (OT)

All-Tournament Team Members: Santiago Echeverri (MVP), Federico Crespo, Felipe DeSousa, Daniel Stanese

 

2013 (No. 1 Seed | Fort Myers, Fla.)

Semifinals: 2-1 Loss vs. No. 5 North Florida

All-Tournament Team Members: David Robledo, Henry Penagos

 

2014 (No. 2 Seed | Nashville, Tenn.)

Semifinals: 2-0 Win vs. No. 6 Northern Kentucky

Final: 1-0 Win vs. No. 4 North Florida

All-Tournament Team Members: Nathan Ingham (MVP), Felipe DeSousa, Santiago Echeverri, Will Suedois

 

2015 (No. 1 Seed | Fort Myers, Fla.)

Semifinals: 4-3 Loss vs. No. 4 USC Upstate (OT)

All-Tournament Team Members: Albert Ruiz, Rodrigo Saravia

 

2016 (No. 2 Seed | Fort Myers, Fla.)

Semifinals: 3-2 Win vs. No. 3 Lipscomb (2 OT)

All-Tournament Team Members: TBA

NATION’S BEST

FGCU continues to lead the nation in nearly every offensive category by a wide margin: goals (55 next closest: 45), points (156, next closest: 141), goals per game (3.06, next closest: 2.50) and points per game (8.67, next closest: 7.83). The goal and point totals are single-season program records, far surpassing the previous marks of 35 and 108, respectively.

Individually, junior Albert Ruiz (Barcelona, Spain/ CE L’Hospitalet/UE Cornella) – who scored twice in the ASUN semifinal vs. Lipscomb – leads the nation with 19 goals, while redshirt sophomore Arion Sobers-Assue (Miami, Fla./DeMatha Catholic HS) is tied for 10th with 11 goals. Ruiz also paces all of Division I with 43 points – eight more than any other player in the nation – and Sobers-Assue is tied for tied for 9th with 30 points.

The Eagles have scored at least two goals in every match this year with the exception of three – and two of those came in the first three outings of the year. FGCU was not shut out all regular season, something that had never happened the 10-year history of the program.

CLOSING IN ON HISTORY

FGCU is one victory shy of setting the program’s single-season record for wins with 14, breaking the mark of 13 this year and by the 2010 team. That squad finished 13-3-2 in the final year in which FGCU was ineligible for the postseason as it went through its D-I transition. FGCU’s 13 wins are tied for the 5th-most in the nation this season, trailing only Wake Forest (14), Utah Valley (15) and Maryland and Denver (both 16).

ASUN MEN’S SOCCER AWARDS

Ruiz highlighted nine ASUN individual postseason awards for the Eagles last week by being named the ASUN Player of the Year.

Ruiz is the second-consecutive FGCU product to garner ASUN Player of the Year honors as current Columbus Crew SC midfielder Rodrigo Saravia claimed the award last year, the first such recognition in the program’s young, but extremely successful, history.

Ruiz was joined on the ASUN First Team by fellow striker Sobers-Assue, central midfielder Kamar Marriott (Tampa, Fla./Heritage HS) and defensive stalwart Nicolas Samayoa (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Colegio Valle Verde) as the Green and Blue placed a league-high four members on the First Team for the third-straight year.

Midfielder Dylan Sacramento (Winnipeg, Manitoba/York University/Bill Crothers S.S.) and central defender Eli Roubos (Toronto, Ontario/Oregon State/Northview Heights Secondary) both earned a spot on the ASUN Second Team. The Eagles had three players receive ASUN All-Freshman Team honors in unanimous selection Miguel Perez (Weston, Fla./Cypress Bay HS), forward Shak Adams (Antioch, Tenn./Cane Ridge HS) and goalkeeper Jared Brown (Aurora, Ontario/St. Maximilian Kolbe CHS), continuing an unbelievable run of program-founding head coach Bob Butehorn and his staff producing at least two all-freshman performers in all 10 years of the program’s existence.

The nine all-conference performers – eight of whom are underclassmen – are tied with last year for the most in FGCU program history, and were matched this season by only North Florida. In a further testament to Butehorn and his staff recruiting and developing young talent, no other team in the ASUN has even produced two or more All-Freshman Team members each of the last two seasons, but the Eagles have done it for the last decade.

REGULAR-SEASON RUN

Despite its unprecedented run of six-straight ASUN regular-season championships coming to an end this year, the Eagles accomplished something from 2010-15 that no other program in the history of the ASUN had done. The Eagles joined the league and became a D-I member in 2007, but FGCU was the first program in the history of the ASUN to claim at least a share of five-straight regular-season titles, let alone six in a row.

ASUN DOMINANCE

FGCU owns a dominant 40-5-5 record in all ASUN 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).

INSIDE THE STREAK

FGCU’s 10-game winning streak from Sept. 4-Oct. 14 was two better than the previous program record of eight set in 2010 and 2012. During the run – which was the longest active streak in the nation – the Eagles out-scored their opponents, 40-15, and scored at least three goals in each of the last eight victories.

OFFENSIVE STALWART

Both Ruiz’s goal (19) and point totals (43) are by far single-season program records as the previous highs were seven and 17, respectively. Additionally, Ruiz has continued to build upon his career program record for points with 61 (previous: 43, Cristian Raudales) and goals with 27 (previous: 19, Raudales). More single-season and all-time records are included at the end of this release.

Ruiz has seven more goals than anyone else in the ASUN this year. Additionally, he has 13 more points than any other player in the league.

Ruiz has scored the most goals in a single season in the conference dating back to 2006. Additionally, Sobers-Assue’s 11 goals rank tied for 7th in league history in the last decade. The ASUN single-season record for goals is 27 set by Clint Adams of Stetson in 1993.

ASUN Single-Season Goals Record (Since 2006)

1. Albert Ruiz, FGCU (2016) – 19

2. Gordon Wild, USC Upstate (2015) – 16

    Anton Axelsson, Jacksonville (2007) – 16

4. Tommy Krizanovic, Jacksonville (2006) – 14

5. Richard Jata, Campbell (2008) – 12

    Garrett Pettis, Lipscomb (2008) – 12

7. Arion Sobers-Assue, FGCU (2016) – 11

    Four Others Tied

NATIONAL RANKING

FGCU is ranked #20 this week in the highly-respected College Soccer News National Poll, in addition to appearing at #21 in the NSCAA poll, which is the only poll the NCAA officially recognizes.

The Eagles were ranked as high as #11 in the NSCAA poll a few weeks ago, which was the highest for any FGCU program in the D-I era (2007-08). FGCU has been ranked in the NSCAA top 25 each of the past seven weeks. Seven weeks ago, FGCU appeared at #15 – four spots higher than the team’s previous regular-season high mark of #19, set three times and most recently last September. The Green and Blue moved up to #12 and remained there for two weeks before the #11 ranking three weeks ago.

MORE AWARDS

For the first time in conference history, a team secured five straight ASUN Player of the Week honors in men’s soccer as FGCU collected its fifth in a row in October when Sobers-Assue garnered the award for the second time.

It continued an award-winning season for FGCU, which has already claimed all of the below individual honors this year:

Sept. 19: Albert Ruiz, ASUN Player of the Week

Sept. 19: Sawyer Jackman, ASUN Defensive Player of the Week

Sept. 19: Albert Ruiz, College Soccer News National Player of the Week

Sept. 20: Albert Ruiz, TopDrawerSoccer National Team of the Week

Sept. 26: Arion Sobers-Assue, ASUN Player of the Week

Sept. 27: Arion Sobers-Assue, NSCAA National Player of the Week

Sept. 27: Arion Sobers-Assue, TopDrawerSoccer National Team of the Week

Oct. 3: Albert Ruiz, ASUN Player of the Week

Oct. 4: Albert Ruiz, TopDrawerSoccer National Player of the Week

Oct. 10: Shak Adams, ASUN Player of the Week

Oct. 17: Arion Sobers-Assue, ASUN Player of the Week

RECORD NIGHTS

On Sept. 27 at Rutgers, Ruiz scored all three of his goals by the 9:02 mark, and is believed to have recorded the fastest hat trick – in terms of time from the start of the game – in D-I history. The junior scored at the 5:42, 8:24 and 9:02 marks. The previous record is believed to have been held by Indiana’s Steve Burks, who tallied three goals 11:41 into a contest with Indiana State on Oct. 6, 1973.

With 3:20 between the first and third goals, Ruiz is the 3rd-fastest player to score three-straight goals at any point of a game in D-I history. He is bettered only by Illinois-Chicago’s John Stone, who did it in 2:15 (28:58-31:13) in 1985, and Saint Joseph’s Kyle Patterson in 2:31 (28:02-30:33) in 2007.

In addition to Ruiz’s three goals, Sobers-Assue also scored at the 9:21 mark, giving the Eagles three goals as a team in a span of just 57 seconds. That is the 2nd-fastest in NCAA D-I history at any point of a game, behind only Syracuse’s 43-second span versus Fordham on Oct. 17, 1989.

The Eagles found a way back into that incredible, historical list again on Oct. 11 when FGCU scored three goals in a 3:47 span to erase a 1-0 deficit against USF. Those goals came at the 66:03, 66:59 and 69:50 marks, ranking as the 15th-fastest in D-I history for a three-goal span by the same team.

HAT TRICK PARTY

Ruiz is the first player in program history with two hat tricks, and it took just 10 days between them. The first men’s soccer season at FGCU was 2007, and it took until Oct. 31, 2010, for a Green and Blue member to record a hat trick when Scott Harrison finally did it versus North Florida. Nearly six years went by before another occurred, and that happened with Ruiz against UNCW on Sept. 17. It then took just three more days for the third hat trick in program history to occur as Sobers-Assue netted three opposite FAU on Sept. 20.

START ANOTHER STREAK

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead not even 15 minutes into its match Oct. 18, FGCU allowed North Florida to score three unanswered goals and leave the FGCU Soccer Complex with a 3-2 triumph. The loss broke a 29-game home regular-season conference unbeaten streak (26-0-3) for FGCU against ASUN members dating back to 2008.

ANIMO, THOMAS

FGCU lost freshman central defender Thomas Delplace (Toulouse, France/Scientific Bac) for the year with a broken leg suffered just more than three minutes into the Eagles’ match at UCF on Sept. 14. Delplace cut across the box and legally challenged what would have been a quality Knights’ scoring chance, but his shin collided with the attacking UCF player’s leg.

In honor of their teammate, FGCU players have started to wear T-shirts in pre-game warmups with text that reads “Animo Thomas” – which translates to “Cheer Up, Thomas” in Spanish.

NEXT UP

The NCAA Men’s Soccer Selection Show will air at 1 p.m. Eastern on Monday, Nov. 14, on NCAA.com.

FGCU Career Records

 

GOALS

 

 

 

POINTS

 

1

Albert Ruiz (14-16)

27

 

1

Albert Ruiz (14-16)

61

2

Cristian Raudales (08-11)

19

 

2

Cristian Raudales (08-11)

43

3

Felipe DeSousa (12-14)

18

 

3

Felipe DeSousa (12-14)

38

4

Henry Penagos (10-14)

13

 

4

Arion Sobers-Assue

33

5

Arion Sobers-Assue (14-16)

12

 

5

Josey Portillo (08-11)

31

 

Scott Harrison (08-11)

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FGCU Single-Season Records

 

GOALS

 

 

 

POINTS

 

1

Albert Ruiz (2016)

19

 

1

Albert Ruiz (2016)

43

2

Arion Sobers-Assue (2016)

11

 

2

Arion Sobers-Assue (2016)

30

3

Albert Ruiz (2015)

7

 

3

Deion Jones (2010)

17

 

Felipe DeSousa (2012)

7

 

 

Scott Harrison (2008)

17

 

Cristian Raudales (2011)

7

 

5

Albert Ruiz (2015)

16

 

Deion Jones (2010)

7

 

 

 

 

 

FOLLOW ALONG

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.

COACH BUTEHORN

FGCU is led by Bob Butehorn, who has coached six professional players and 63 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 won an unprecedented six-straight ASUN regular-season championships from 2010-15. His teams have been ranked nationally on several occasions by multiple media outlets, including a program-record #11 NSCAA ranking in 2016. Now in his 14th season as a head coach, Butehorn has a 128-93-27 (.571) overall record, 94-61-23 (.593) 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.

 
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