INDIANAPOLIS – Coming off a pair of dominant wins to open Atlantic Sun Conference action last week, the FGCU men’s soccer team remains one of the elite teams in the nation as the Eagles have an official RPI of 15.
With an overall record of 4-2-1, the Eagles have the fifth-best non-conference RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) in the nation – a ranking which should remain strong throughout the remainder of the year as head coach Bob Butehorn has put together one of the most demanding schedules in program history.
FGCU – which has had two games not played due to inclement weather – have played the second-fewest games in the country, but the non-league docket has kept them among the nation’s best teams. The Eagles have played at RPI No. 1 Wake Forest (L, 1-0), No. 6 USF (L, 2-1) and No. 57 Brown (W, 2-1) and hosted No. 11 Georgetown (T, 0-0) and No. 55 Princeton (W, 3-2).
All five of FGCU’s non-conference opponents so far this year are ranked in the top 60 of the RPI, and the Eagles still have non-league tilts left at No. 28 UNC Wilmington (Oct. 31) and at home against No. 37 FIU. The lone non-conference foe for the Green and Blue not in the RPI top 60 is FAU (No. 191), as the Eagles and Owls will square off on Oct. 13 in Boca Raton.
The Eagles were ranked No. 14 in the NCAA’s first official RPI list last week, and fell only one spot despite victories over No. 181 Jacksonville, 4-0, and on the road versus No. 119 Stetson, 2-0 – a further testament to the incredible strength of FGCU’s non-conference matchups.
FGCU faces the only other A-Sun team ranked in the top 100 of the RPI this Saturday when the Eagles travel to Jacksonville for a crucial road matchup against No. 59 North Florida.
The RPI is one of the most important factors the NCAA Men’s Soccer Selection Committee utilizes when considering teams for postseason at-large berths and seeding in the NCAA Tournament. As a comparison, the FGCU women’s soccer team had an RPI of 26 last year when it was selected to host a First Round NCAA Tournament match for the first time in program history.
The Eagles have climbed into the upper echelon of the national rankings thanks in large part to another stalwart defensive season. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Nathan Ingham (Keswick, Ontario/Keswick HS) missed two-and-a-half games earlier in the season with an ankle injury, but recently returned and on Monday was named A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week.
Ingham, who has three shutouts in four games this year, easily leads the A-Sun and ranks 7th in the nation with a 0.42 goals-against average as he has only allowed two goals in 428:32 minutes this season. Additionally, Ingham currently boasts a .889 save percentage which ranks as the 4th best in the entire country.
At his current pace, Ingham would shatter the A-Sun single-season record for goals-against average as the current mark is 0.61 held by Centenary’s Damin Hill in 1987. Last year, Ingham posted a 0.71 GAA to rank as the 4th-best single season in league history.
Ingham has 22 career shutouts and is within three of tying and four 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) Nathan Ingham: 22 (FGCU, 2011-Present)
A-Sun Career Goals-Against Average (minimum 2,000 minutes)
1) Ryan Coulter: 0.95 (ETSU, 2011-13)
2) Nathan Ingham: 0.98 (FGCU, 2011-Present)
3) Kyle Roelke: 1.00 (Belmont, 2004-05)
The wins last week over Jacksonville and Stetson extended FGCU’s dominant overall record to 34-4-3 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 123 points that could have been earned in that time, the Eagles have claimed an impressive 105 of them (85 percent) en route to an unprecedented five-straight A-Sun regular-season titles.
Furthermore, FGCU has the nation’s longest home regular-season conference unbeaten streak at 27 games. Dating back to 2008, the Eagles have gone an incredible 24-0-3 in that time. FGCU’s last home regular-season A-Sun loss came to Jacksonville, 2-0, on Oct. 19, 2008 – more than 2,500 days ago.
RPI TOP 25 (RECORD)
1) Wake Forest (8-1-1)
2) North Carolina (8-0-1)
3) Notre Dame (7-2-2)
4) Clemson (8-1-2)
5) Akron (7-2-1)
6) USF (7-3-0)
7) Coastal Carolina (6-0-1)
8) Creighton (10-0-0)
9) Syracuse (7-2-1)
10) Seattle (9-2-0)
11) Georgetown (6-2-2)
12) Denver (8-0-2)
13) South Carolina (6-2-1)
14) Hofstra (8-2-0)
15) FGCU (4-2-1)
16) UC Santa Barbara (7-3-1)
17) Stanford (8-1-0)
18) Elon (8-2-0)
19) Cal Poly (6-2-2)
20) Boston College (6-3-1)
21) Virginia (6-1-2)
22) Butler (6-0-3)
23) William & Mary (4-4-2)
24) Indiana (6-3-1)
25) NC State (6-2-2)
BOLD Denotes FGCU Opponent
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 112-89-23 (.551) overall record, 78-57-19 (.569) mark in his 9th season at FGCU and 46-17-5 (.713) 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.