JACKSONVILLE – The No. 15 RPI-ranked FGCU men’s soccer team (4-2-2, 2-0-1 Atlantic Sun Conference) and fellow top-60 RPI-ranked North Florida (5-5-1, 1-0-1 A-Sun) battled to a 1-1 double-overtime tie Saturday night in an important league match for both teams.
Despite finishing with a 20-7 shot advantage and playing the final 18 minutes of regulation and both 10-minute overtime sessions with a man advantage, FGCU was unable to secure the win but still earned a valuable road point in a matchup of the preseason top-two favorites in the A-Sun.
The lone FGCU goal came off the foot of sophomore forward Albert Ruiz (Barcelona, Spain/UE Cornella/CE L’Hospitalet), who converted his second penalty kick of the year in the 28th minute just two minutes after UNF initially pulled ahead with a set-piece goal by Simen Solstad.
The next-best chance of the evening for either team came in the 78th minute when second-half substitute Preston Kilwien (Pleasant Hill, Calif./College Park HS/Campolindo HS) hit the post for the Eagles.
With the draw, FGCU moves into sole possession of first place in the A-Sun with seven points. The Eagles – who are now unbeaten in their last four games after entering Saturday with a three-game winning streak – are one point clear of Lipscomb (2-1-0) and three ahead of UNF.
“We had several legitimate chances to win the game, but we weren’t our best tonight and still were able to take a point,” said FGCU head coach Bob Butehorn. “Our guys played really hard and I’m proud of them. But I have to give UNF credit as well as they had a lot of fight and battled all night.”
UNF began the contest with early pressure, firing off two shots in the opening five minutes – one which was blocked and one which went right – before FGCU got its first attempt in the 6th minute off the foot of Ruiz, but it missed to the left.
The Eagles got another shot off in the 9th minute with Skylar Wilks (Tampa, Fla./Newsome HS), but from there neither team had an attempt until the 26th minute when the Ospreys scored off the aforementioned set piece. However, FGCU responded almost immediately as Ruiz deposited the PK after Miguel Jaime (Denver, Colo./Cherry Creek HS) was taken down in the box.
The PK gave the Green and Blue life as they continued to apply pressure and attempted three shots the rest of the half while shutting down the A-Sun’s leading offense in terms of shots as the two sides went into the halftime break tied at 1-1.
FGCU opened the second half just as it concluded the first, by asserting its possession-based attack with several shots. The best opportunity early in the stanza came in the 54th minute off a Wilks’ corner when Dylan Sacramento (Winnipeg, Manitoba/York University) had his shot saved by UNF keeper Kyle Nasta.
Nathan Ingham (Keswick, Ontario/Keswick HS) needed to make his own save off a corner in the 71st minute to keep the game knotted at 1-1 and did so when he corralled a shot by Alex Morrell.
Minutes later, a second yellow card to UNF’s Solstad resulted in his disqualification and the Ospreys played the final 18 minutes of regulation and the two overtime sessions with 10 men.
Kilwien made his presence felt shortly after entering the game as the freshman’s first shot missed the target, but his second attempt in the 77th minute was saved and his best effort rattled off the post a minute later. Rodrigo Saravia (Guatemala City, Guatemala/College Internacional Montessori) had another chance for the Eagles stopped by Nasta in the 88th minute.
In the first overtime session, Luis Vega (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Montverde Academy) fired a shot on target in the 92nd minute, but Nasta was again equal to the task. In the second overtime period, Kamar Marriott (Tampa, Fla./Heritage HS) put an effort on frame, but Nasta stopped that as well.
The Eagles out-shot UNF in the two overtimes, 5-2. Nasta finished with five saves on the evening, while Ingham – who entered with the nation’s eighth-best goals-against average (0.42) and fourth-best save percentage (.889) – made two stops. FGCU also created more corner opportunities than the Ospreys, 6-3. Ingham’s goals-against average now sits at a league-best 0.50, while his save percentage is now at .857.
With the draw, FGCU is now 34-4-4 in all A-Sun regular-season games since the start of the 2010 season. All four of those losses have come on the road, and out of a possible 126 points that could have been earned in that time, the Eagles have claimed an impressive 106 of them en route to an unprecedented five-straight A-Sun regular-season titles.
After the all-time series with UNF began with seven-straight FGCU wins, the Ospreys have now played the Eagles to a pair of ties and a defeat in the last three meetings as the Green and Blue now leads, 7-1-2.
FGCU will remain on the road for a mid-week match across the state at FAU on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. The Eagles step back into A-Sun action when they host Lipscomb on Senior Night next Saturday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m.
Single-game tickets are available starting at just $7 for adults, $5 for youth (3-12) and $20 for a family pack. More information, including additional 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.
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 45 A-Sun All-Conference selections since FGCU started its program in 2007. In just four years of postseason eligibility, Butehorn has guided FGCU to three A-Sun Tournament championships and NCAA Tournament appearances – in 2011, 2012 and 2014 – and has won an unprecedented five-straight A-Sun regular-season championships. His teams have been ranked nationally on several occasions by multiple media outlets. Now in his 13th season as a head coach, Butehorn has a 112-89-24 (.551) overall record, 78-57-20 (.569) mark in his 9th season at FGCU and 46-17-6 (.713) record in A-Sun contests.
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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.