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ASUN Play Continues For FGCU At USC Upstate

Published: October 20, 2017

Matchup: FGCU (6-4-2, 3-0-1 ASUN) @ USC Upstate (2-9-2, 0-4-0 ASUN)

When: Saturday, Oct. 21 | 7 PM

Where: Spartanburg, S.C. | County University Stadium

Links: Live Stats (No Video)

Series: FGCU Leads, 9-1-1

Coaches: Jesse Cormier (1st Season @ FGCU (6-4-2); 14th Overall (120-93-49)) | Scott Halkett (1st Season @ Upstate (2-9-2); Same Overall)

 

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – ASUN Tournament seeding and conference regular-season championship implications are at stake for the FGCU men’s soccer team as the Eagles continue road league action on Saturday at 7 p.m. against USC Upstate.

 

ASUN STANDINGS

Team

PTS

ASUN

OVERALL

Stetson

13

4-0-1

6-5-1

FGCU

10

3-0-1

6-4-2

NJIT

9

3-1-0

8-6-2

Lipscomb

6

2-3-0

8-6-0

Jacksonville

3

1-2-0

3-8-0

North Florida

0

0-3-0

1-9-1

USC Upstate

0

0-4-0

2-9-2

 

OPENING KICK

On Friday night, Stetson travels to Jacksonville. If the Hatters defeat the Dolphins, Stetson clinches at least a share of the ASUN regular-season title. The Eagles can match that with a win in each of their final two conference games (next Saturday vs. NJIT).

 

With an FGCU win and a loss by NJIT at home to North Florida on Sunday, the Eagles will clinch a first-round ASUN Tournament bye and a top-2 seed, regardless of what other scenarios occur.

 

The top-2 teams in the ASUN regular-season standings will host a semifinal ASUN Tournament game, with the highest remaining seed hosting the championship final next month.

 

FGCU and Stetson battled to a 1-1 double-overtime tie last Saturday in DeLand. If the two sides finish the year tied atop the league standings, they will be deemed co-champions. The third tiebreaker – goal differential in conference matches – will be used first to break to the deadlock (which entering this weekend is knotted at +5).

 

ALL-TIME vs. USC UPSTATE

FGCU has dominated the all-time series with USC Upstate, holding a 9-1-1 record against the Spartans. Following a 2-2 tie in 2008, FGCU shut out Upstate in seven-straight games until the 2015 ASUN Tournament semifinals. USC Upstate – which earlier in that 2015 season tragically lost two team members in a single-car accident – upset top-seeded FGCU at home, 4-3.

 

That loss is the only setback the Green and Blue have incurred versus the Spartans. Not only do the Eagles have an overwhelming all-time mark against Upstate, but they have controlled the matches as well, outscoring the Spartans 25-6 in the 11 meetings – nine of which have been shutouts. FGCU is a perfect 5-0 on the road in Spartanburg, and the Green and Blue have never lost to USC Upstate in the regular season.

 

ASUN DOMINANCE

FGCU owns a dominant record of 43-5-6 in all ASUN regular-season games since the start of the 2010 season. Out of a possible 162 points that could have been earned in that time, the Green and Blue have claimed an impressive 135 of them (83 percent).

 

Even more impressive, dating back to October of 2008 – just the program’s second season – FGCU is a gaudy 29-1-3 in home regular-season games against ASUN opponents.

 

ASUN FAVORITES

This year marks the fifth-straight season that FGCU has been selected as the preseason ASUN favorites (co-favorites with Lipscomb in 2014). Impressively, the Eagles have lived up to that billing each year as the Green and Blue have won either the ASUN regular season title or tournament championship every single campaign since 2010 (regular season and tournament champions in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016).

 

FGCU commenced league play with victories over each of the three teams selected below it in the preseason poll – North Florida (2nd, 2-0), Lipscomb (3rd, 2-0) and Jacksonville (4th, 1-0). Stetson was predicted for a 6th-place finish, but is guaranteed to finish higher than that.

 

SCOUTING USC UPSTATE

^ Saturday’s match will represent Senior Night for USC Upstate.

^ After posting back-to-back wins to open September, Upstate is 0-6-2 in its last eight games, including a 6-1 loss at Gardner-Webb Tuesday night.

^ Cam Philpot carries the Upstate offensive attack with four goals to lead the team, while JR Cozine is the only other Spartan with multiple goals.

^ CJ Cluck is the reigning ASUN Defensive Player of the Week after a stellar outing against N.C. State in which Upstate secured a nil-nil draw. He has started the last five matches and has combined for 20 saves.

 

LOCKING IN DEFENSIVELY

FGCU has yet to allow a goal in ASUN action during the run of play. The Eagles have surrendered just one goal so far this league campaign, and that came off a penalty kick at Stetson. Every other team has allowed at least three goals in conference action, and USC Upstate has allowed the most by conceding 11.

 

The Eagles opened ASUN play with three-consecutive clean sheets – the first time that has occurred in program history.

 

INSIDE THE FGCU LINEUP

Shak Adams (Antioch, Tenn./Cane Ridge HS) leads the FGCU offensive attack with 12 points off a team-best five goals (4th-most in the ASUN) and two assists. Robert Ferrer (Barcelona, Spain/Brevard College/IES Calamot) has posted 10 points off four goals and a pair of assists. Dennis Zapata (Orlando, Fla./University HS) – despite missing four matches with a hamstring injury – has produced a pair of goals and a team-high four assists (tied for 3rd in the ASUN).

 

HIGHLIGHT-REEL FINISHES

Over the last few years, FGCU has turned in some highlight-reel goals which have garnered national attention. The most recent came on Oct. 10 against #14 FIU when freshman Kareem Riley (Couva, Trinidad and Tobago/Presentation College San Fernando) secured the No. 3 spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays for his incredible goal from about 40 yards. Riley sent a laser of a shot which stayed on line with the crossbar nearly the entire time before just dipping under the bar for his first collegiate goal and the eventual game-winner against #24 Omaha (watch the goal).

 

It’s the third time in the last 2+ seasons that the team has been featured on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays. The first was Preston Kilwien (San Francisco, Calif./College Park HS) (No. 3 on Sept. 10, 2015) and then Dylan Sacramento (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Bill Crothers S.S/York University) (No. 7 on Oct. 17, 2015).

 

LUCKY 100

With its 3-2 victory over #24 Omaha on Oct. 3, FGCU secured its 100th all-time win. The Eagles are 101-67-26 (.588) in 10+ seasons, including a dominant 55-18-8 (.728) record in ASUN contests. Since the program’s first two seasons in 2007 and 2008, FGCU has posted a winning record each of the past eight years, including double-figure victory totals in half of those campaigns.

 

RECORD-SETTING 2016 CAMPAIGN

FGCU led the country in nearly every offensive category a season ago, including goals with 62 – nine more than any other team. The club reached record heights as it secured a program-record 14 wins.

 

The Eagles advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round for the first time after claiming a 3-0 triumph in penalty kicks at USF in the opening round following a 2-2 double-overtime tie. FGCU went on to face North Carolina, and the Green and Blue had a 2-1 lead until an 86th-minute goal by the Tar Heels. FGCU played the final 52 minutes of the match with 10 men, and UNC finally tallied a double-overtime goal to emerge victorious, 3-2. The Eagles return nearly every player from 2016, including 10 starters.

 

NATIONALLY RANKED

The Eagles began the year ranked #15 in College Soccer News Preseason Poll. It marked the fourth-straight season that FGCU has been nationally ranked. The Eagles finished last year #20 in the NSCAA Poll (now United Soccer Coaches) after being ranked for the final nine weeks of the season and climbing to a program-best #11 in mid-October.

 

FGCU NATIONAL RANKING HISTORY
10/5/2010: #25 Soccer America

10/12/2010: #24 Soccer America

10/14/2010: #24 Top Drawer Soccer

10/19/2010: #21 Soccer America

10/26/2010: #23 Soccer America

11/2/2010: #19 Soccer America

11/9/2010: #19 Soccer America

11/16/2010: #20 Soccer America (Final Poll)

8/2/2011: #14 Goal.com (Preseason Poll)

8/30/2011: #22 Goal.com

9/27/2011: #25 Goal.com

9/9/2014: #24 NSCAA and Soccer America

8/31/2015: #19 Top Drawer Soccer

10/13/2015: #22 Top Drawer Soccer

10/20/2015: #22 Top Drawer Soccer

9/27/2016: #15 NSCAA

10/4/2016: #12 NSCAA

10/11/2016: #12 NSCAA

10/18/2016: #11 NSCAA

10/25/2016: #20 NSCAA

11/1/2016: #22 NSCAA

11/8/2016: #21 NSCAA

11/15/2016: #18 NSCAA

12/13/2016: #20 NSCAA (Final Poll)

8/3/2017: #15 College Soccer News (Preseason Poll)

 

ALBERT RUIZ

Albert Ruiz (Barcelona, Spain/ CE L’Hospitalet/UE Cornella) missed the first eight games of the year with an injury, but returned on Oct. 3. In the four games since, he has recorded three points off a goal and an assist. Ruiz was named to the 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List as one of the nation’s top players after finishing runner-up for the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy a season ago. The lethal striker – who was also one of just three forwards on Top Drawer Soccer’s Preseason Best XI list – destroyed single-season program records in goals (22) and points (49) en route to being named an NSCAA First Team All-American – the first ASUN Conference representative since 1997.

 

The senior – the only unanimous selection to the ASUN Preseason All-Conference Team – scored five more goals and totaled nine more points than any other player in the country in 2016. He also led all Division-I players in goals per game (1.10; next closest: 0.89) and points per game (2.45; next closest: 1.95). By himself, Ruiz scored more goals than 74 teams – more than one-third of the 203 D-I men’s programs – and secured more points than 43 teams last season.

 

BUILDING A CHAMPIONSHIP PROGRAM

FGCU has produced six professional players – including two current MLS members in Rodrigo Saravia (Columbus Crew) and Aaron Guillen (FC Dallas) – and 63 ASUN All-Conference selections. In just six years of D-I postseason eligibility, FGCU has won four ASUN Tournament championships and made four NCAA Tournament appearances – in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016 – and won an unprecedented six-straight ASUN regular-season championships from 2010-15.

 

NEXT UP

FGCU will remain on the road for an NCAA Tournament rematch with rival USF in Tampa on Tuesday night, Oct. 24, at 7. The Eagles – who will be facing former head coach Bob Butehorn – took down the Bulls in penalty kicks last year to advance to the Second Round for the first time in program history.

 

The Eagles finally return to Southwest Florida for their final home match of the year when they host Senior Night against NJIT on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 7.

 

FGCU Career Records

 

GOALS

 

 

 

POINTS

 

1

Albert Ruiz (14-Present)

31

 

1

Albert Ruiz (14-Present)

70

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

37

5

Arion Sobers-Assue (14-Present)

12

 

5

Josey Portillo (08-11)

31

 

Scott Harrison (08-11)

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASSISTS

 

 

 

 

 

1

Josey Portillo (08-11)

15

 

 

 

 

2

Arion Sobers-Assue (14-Present)

13

 

 

 

 

3

Francesco DiStefano (08-11)

12

 

 

 

 

4

Andres Navas (09-12)

11

 

 

 

 

5

Deion Jones (09-12)

10

 

 

 

 

 

FGCU Single-Season Records

 

GOALS

 

 

 

 

POINTS

 

1

Albert Ruiz (2016)

22

 

 

1

Albert Ruiz (2016)

49

2

Arion Sobers-Assue (2016)

11

 

 

2

Arion Sobers-Assue (2016)

33

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASSISTS

 

 

 

1

Arion Sobers-Assue (2016)

11

 

 

2

Josey Portillo (2011)

7

 

 

3

Deion Jones (2011)

6

 

 

 

Donovan Henry (2010)

6

 

 

 

William Morse (2011)

6

 

 

 

IRMA RELIEF DONATIONS

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, many individuals and families throughout Southwest Florida are still in desperate need of assistance. To aid in those relief efforts, FGCU Athletics will be collecting donations at all Eagle home games for the immediate future. Donation items most needed include: non-perishable food, clothing, household items and first-aid supplies. Additionally, those unable to attend upcoming home games can drop off donations in canisters located in the Alico Arena lobby. All donations will be given to those hardest hit in Lee and Collier counties.

 

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.

 

HEAD COACH JESSE CORMIER

Jesse Cormier was hired in January 2017 to become just the 2nd head coach in program history. The head coach at Vermont for the previous 13 seasons, Cormier won 14 games with the Catamounts in 2016 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round. During his time with Vermont, Cormier guided the program to the America East Tournament in 12 of 13 seasons, making five title game appearances, winning two tournament crowns, claiming a regular-season championship and advancing to three NCAA tournaments, including a pair of Second Round appearances. Cormier has a 120-93-49 (.551 winning percentage) overall record as a head coach.

 

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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