@FGCU_MSoccer 2015 #ASunMSoc Favorites
Published: August 21, 2015
MACON, Ga. – Coming off an unprecedented fifth-straight Atlantic Sun Conference regular-season championship and third NCAA Championship appearance in four years in 2014, the FGCU men’s soccer team has been installed as the 2015 preseason league favorites, as voted on by the conference’s head coaches and unveiled by A-Sun officials Monday.
Additionally, a trio of Eagles have been named to the Preseason A-Sun All-Conference Team: Aaron Guillen, Rodrigo Saravia and Albert Ruiz. A senior defender, Guillen was one of just two unanimous selections to the 13-member team, while Saravia and Ruiz helped comprise the list of four midfielders and four forwards, respectively.
FGCU garnered three of the six first-place votes and collected 32 points overall, three clear of second-place UNF (29) – which received two first-place votes – and nine ahead of third-place Lipscomb (23). Jacksonville picked up the other first-place vote and was predicted to finish fourth with 17 points, one ahead of Stetson (16), while USC Upstate rounded out the six-team league with nine points. For men’s soccer, A-Sun newcomer NJIT is competing in the Sun Belt Conference this year, and Kennesaw State – which has football – does not sponsor the sport.
“Our goal as a program each year is to win the A-Sun title, and it’s certainly nice to again be recognized collectively before the season begins,” said head coach Bob Butehorn, who has led FGCU to six-straight winning seasons. “I’m happy for Aaron, Rodrigo and Albert as their honors are certainly well deserved, but I believe we have an extremely deep and talented roster with a number of guys who will make an impact throughout the year. We’ve once again put together a great non-conference schedule to get us ready for the A-Sun slate and postseason play, and we’re looking forward to getting started.”
An A-Sun First Team member each of the past two years following an A-Sun All-Freshman Team nod in 2012, Guillen (El Paso, Texas/Coronado HS) serves as one of FGCU’s central defenders who last year started all 19 of the games he appeared in and was not substituted out the entire year with the exception of one 10-minute overtime period versus Akron.
Along with returning senior goalkeeper Nathan Ingham (Keswick, Ontario/Keswick HS) – who led the league in nearly every goalkeeping statistic last year and was named A-Sun Tournament MVP – Guillen helped FGCU allow the fewest goals in the A-Sun (15), nine less than any other league member, and post nine shutouts – three more than any other A-Sun team. He was an integral member of the Eagles’ backline which had a shutout streak of 495:40 broken in the 86th minute of the NCAA Championship.
Saravia (Guatemala City, Guatemala/ College Internacional Montessori) enters his senior campaign playing arguably the best soccer of his career. The maestro for an extremely talented and deep midfield core for the Green and Blue, Saravia was named to the A-Sun First Team last year following a Second Team selection as a sophomore and an All-Freshman Team honor in 2012. Last year, Top Drawer Soccer – one of the nation’s leading amateur soccer media outlets – named Saravia as a top-100 player in the country, one of just two A-Sun players listed.
The composed Saravia controlled the middle of the pitch for the Eagles, playing in 19 of 20 games and making 18 starts last year. He scored his lone goal at Northern Kentucky as part of a 3-1 win in mid-October and attempted 10 shots on the year, four of which were on frame while also aiding in FGCU’s league-leading defense along with Guillen. This summer he was called into the Guatemala National Team Camp, and has since been playing significant minutes with the country’s U23 Team.
Ruiz (Barcelona, Spain/ UE Cornella/CE L’Hospitalet) gave Butehorn a big, physical presence in the attacking third of the pitch last year in his initial campaign with the Eagles en route to A-Sun All-Freshman Team honors. He continued a streak in which FGCU has had at least two All-Freshman Team selections (along with Miguel Jaime last season) in each of the program’s eight years of existence.
He was one of only two field players (Skylar Wilks) to play in all 20 games, making 15 starts last season. His lone goal of the year opened the scoring in FGCU’s triumph at NKU. Ruiz attempted 21 shots last season to contribute to a program-record and league-leading 306 shot attempts; his 10 shots on goal were tied for the fourth-most on the team. In a testament to his talents while still an underclassman, Ruiz is one of just three sophomores (no freshmen) included on preseason all-conference list.
FGCU had a program-record eight players named to A-Sun all-conference teams last year, and five of them return in 2015 (Guillen, Saravia, Ruiz, Ingham, Jaime). Additionally, all three of FGCU’s A-Sun Academic All-Conference picks from a season ago are back as well (Saravia, David Robledo, Steven Oliveri) as the Eagles are positioned to once again deliver on high early-season expectations.
The season commences with a marquee matchup as the Eagles host preseason No. 3 and 2014 NCAA Championship quarterfinalist Georgetown under the lights of the FGCU Soccer Complex on Friday, Aug. 28, at 7. Butehorn, who has always assembled a top-notch non-conference slate – especially at home – delivered again in 2015 as three non-conference opponents for the Eagles this year participated in the 2014 NCAA Championship, and five won at least 10 games last year. Additionally, five non-conference opponents finished 2014 inside the top-50 in the RPI, and three were in the top-30.
Season- and single-game tickets are available for the 2015 campaign, with season tickets starting at just $35. More information, including special discounts and group rates, can be accessed by logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/tickets or by clicking here. To purchase tickets, or for additional inquiries, call the FGCU Ticket Office at 239-590-7145 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
FGCU claimed its third A-Sun Tournament Championship title in 2014 by defeating UNF in the title game, 1-0. The Eagles have an incredible overall record of 32-4-3 in all A-Sun regular-season games since the start of the 2010 season. All four of those conference losses have come on the road, and out of a possible 117 points that could have been earned in that time, the Eagles have claimed an impressive 99 of them.
Additionally, FGCU owns the longest home regular-season conference unbeaten streak in the nation. FGCU – which was ranked as high as No. 24 in the nation last year – has not lost a home regular-season A-Sun game since 2008, a stretch of 26 in a row in which the Eagles are unbeaten (23-0-3). Included in that run is a 19-game winning streak. FGCU’s last home regular-season A-Sun loss came to Jacksonville, 2-0, on Oct. 19, 2008.