FORT MYERS, Fla. – Looking to extend the nation’s longest home regular-season conference unbeaten streak, the FGCU men’s soccer team (2-2-1) kicks off Atlantic Sun play on Wednesday when the Eagles, ranked No. 14 in the RPI, welcome Jacksonville (2-5-1) to the FGCU Soccer Complex for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
FGCU 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 – an incredible 2,536 days ago.
Additionally, the Eagles have a dominant 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 en route to five-straight A-Sun regular-season titles.
WHAT TO KNOW
Wednesday is a BLUEOUT with all fans in attendance encouraged to wear blue. It’s also Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night as members will be recognized at halftime. The Spirit Cup Challenge also continues with Greek Life and Housing, and retro Dirty Bird T-shirts will be given away throughout the night.
The game will not be video streamed, but live audio and live stats will be available. Additionally, fans can stay posted throughout the game by following @FGCU_MSoccer on Twitter.
Brand-new HD-quality video broadcast equipment has been ordered but will not arrive in time for Wednesday’s game. The new equipment will drastically increase all FGCU home broadcasts beginning next weekend by incorporating graphics, replay and many other broadcast elements.
ONE FOR THE OTHER THUMB?
By virtue of a 4-1-1 A-Sun record last year, FGCU claimed an unprecedented fifth-straight A-Sun regular-season championship and will be looking to extend that run to six in a row beginning with the Dolphins Wednesday evening.
Despite only joining the league and becoming a Division-I member in 2007, FGCU is the first program in the history of the A-Sun – which for men’s soccer dates back to 1979 – to claim at least a share of five-straight regular-season titles.
FGCU vs. JU
Jacksonville welcomed FGCU to the A-Sun by handing the Eagles three losses in their first three meetings, outscoring them 9-1 along the way. However, FGCU has completely reversed the script as the Eagles have defeated Jacksonville in five-consecutive matches to improve their all-time record against the Dolphins to 5-3. In those five meetings – dating back to 2010 – FGCU has out-scored Jacksonville, 14-4, including 3-1 on the road last season in the league opener for both teams.
After opening its season with wins over Georgia State and Detroit and a tie against FAU, Jacksonville has dropped five-consecutive matches and has been out-scored in that stretch, 15-5. Sophomore forward Ejiroghene Mrabure leads the Dolphins with three goals and six points which ties him for fourth in the league in both categories.
The goalkeeper position for JU has been on a rotating basis so far this year as three keepers have already played, with freshman Patrick Harding getting the bulk of the work with six appearances, five starts and a goals-against average of 2.18. JU’s team goals-against average of 2.14 is the second-worst in the A-Sun, while FGCU has the second-best at 1.15.
FGCU leads the A-Sun in assists per game at 1.20, while JU has the second-lowest average at 0.88. The Eagles are the only team in the A-Sun with two games this year in which they have issued at least three assists. Senior midfielder Rodrigo Saravia (Guatemala City, Guatemala/College Internacional Montessori) paces all league players with a 0.60 assist-per-game average, while his three assists are tied for the second-most in the league and are already the most in a single season in his highly-decorated career.
While only playing in three games, Dylan Sacramento (Winnipeg, Manitoba/York University) is tied for fourth in the conference in points (6) and goals (3), while his 2.0 goals-per-game average is third-best and his 1.00 goals-per-game average is the second-best.
Who will start in net for the Eagles will likely be a game-time decision as redshirt senior Nathan Ingham (Keswick, Ontario/Keswick HS) continues to recover from an ankle sprain he suffered on Sept. 10 against Princeton. Freshman Sawyer Jackman (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East HS) has performed admirably in Ingham’s absence and would again get the nod if the Canadian can’t go.
Both Ingham and Jackman are in the top-three in the A-Sun in save percentage at .833 (1st) and .750 (3rd), respectively, and both are in the top-four in the league in goals-against average (0.72, 1st, Ingham; 1.63, 4th, Jackman). The two have played nearly the identical amount of minutes as Ingham has logged 248:32 while Jackman has 221:28.
RPI NO. 14
The NCAA released its first official RPI ranking of the year on Monday, and FGCU was by far the highest-ranked A-Sun member at No. 14. All five of FGCU’s opponents this year are ranked in the top 100, including No. 1 Wake Forest, No. 8 USF, No. 21 Georgetown, No. 54 Princeton and No. 99 Brown.
FGCU dropped one-goal games at both Wake Forest, 1-0, and USF, 2-1, tied Georgetown, 0-0, and defeated Princeton, 3-2, and Brown, 2-1. In a testament to the strength of the non-conference schedule, the Eagles – who along with Columbia have played the fewest games in the nation – are the only team in the top 25 of the RPI with a .500 record.
The RPI is one of the most important factors the selection committee utilizes when considering teams for postseason at-large berths and seeding in the NCAA Tournament. In addition to Wake Forest, USF and Georgetown, FGCU also still has non-conference games left against two more teams in the top 25 of the RPI as it will host FIU (25) on Oct. 20 and travel to UNC-Wilmington (12) on Oct. 31.
After posting one of the best performances by a true freshman goalkeeper in FGCU program history, Jackman was named A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week after making seven saves on the road against Brown on Friday night, helping preserve a 2-1 FGCU win. Four of the seven stops came in the final 30 minutes of the game, and the only goal he allowed came on a penalty kick in the 82nd minute.
The seven saves are tied for the second-most in program history by a freshman (Adam Glick, 2007), and the seven stops are tied for the eighth-most by any keeper in program history. Additionally, the seven saves are tied for the second-most by any goalkeeper in the A-Sun this year.
Additionally, Saravia was tabbed to the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week on Tuesday as he issued two assists against the Bears. The midfielder set up Miguel Jaime (Denver, Colo./Cherry Creek HS) as the sophomore scored his first career goal in the 51st minute and then sent the initial ball into the box off a set piece which was eventually driven into the upper 90 by Sacramento for the game-winner in the 86th minute.
INGHAM CHASING HISTORY
Ingham earned his 20th career shutout to open the season against then-No. 3 Georgetown, setting the FGCU program record and moving him within five of tying and six of breaking the all-time A-Sun mark. Additionally, Ingham – who was named the PDL Championship MVP this summer – is also closing in on the A-Sun record for lowest career goals-against average. A-Sun men’s soccer history dates back to 1979.
A-Sun Career Shutouts
1) Ryan Coulter: 25 (ETSU, 2011-13)
2) Jeff Cassar: 23 (FIU, 1992-95)
3) Aaron Johnson: 21 (Campbell, 2005-08)
4) Nathan Ingham: 20 (FGCU, 2011-Present)
A-Sun Career Goals-Against Average (minimum 2,000 minutes)
1) Ryan Coulter: 0.95 (ETSU, 2011-13)
2) Kyle Roelke: 1.00 (Belmont, 2004-05)
3) Nathan Ingham: 1.02 (FGCU, 2011-Present)
Following the match against Jacksonville, FGCU will play the middle game a three-match A-Sun stretch when it travels to in-state foe Stetson (4-4-1) for a 7:30 p.m. matchup in DeLand on Saturday.
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 110-89-23 (.545) overall record, 76-57-19 (.563) mark in his 9th season at FGCU and 44-17-5 (.705) record in A-Sun 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.