TAMPA, Fla. – Two goals by freshman Felipe DeSousa (Vila Velha, Brazil/Wharton HS (Fla.)) and senior William Morse (Sugar Land, Texas/Clements HS) separated by just 29 seconds to open the second half broke a scoreless game and vaulted the FGCU men’s soccer team to a 2-0 win over MAAC favorite Iona on Thursday night at the USF Tournament played at Corbett Stadium.
The win is the second in a row for FGCU (2-2) and was the Green and Blue’s fourth consecutive contest to open the season against a team in TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Tournament 48 rankings. Iona, who won 14 games in 2011, is now 1-3 on the year.
The FGCU win evens the all-time series between the two clubs at 1-1. Iona defeated FGCU during its inaugural season in 2007 at the FAU Tournament.
“I thought tonight was our best performance this year and I was pleased most of the night with our pace and control of the ball,” said head coach Bob Butehorn. “We’ve still got some things that need to be cleaned up, but this is a good start to a tough weekend.”
Morse has now scored in two straight games, as he poured in the golden goal in last Sunday’s double-overtime win against Bucknell. DeSousa’s goal was the first of his collegiate career. Both goals game in the 52nd minute.
The shutout was the first of the season and the second in the career of sophomore keeper Nathan Ingham (Ontario, Canada/Keswick HS), who received a strong performance from the youthful FGCU backline that includes three freshmen and one sophomore. The Eagles limited an Iona attack that features three MAC Herman Watch List players to just two shots, including none on goal.
Both teams had to endure a 95-minute lightening delay prior to kick-off that resulted in a scoreless first half. Much of the play in the opening 45 minutes belonged to the Green and Blue but resulted in just a 3-2 edge in shots with both teams producing one real scoring threat.
FGCU was able to build off its strong opening half of possession at the 50:11 mark when DeSousa and senior Andres Navas (Miami, Fla./Sunset Senior HS) connected on a nice give-and-go in the box. DeSousa made the entry pass into Navas, who fed it right back to DeSousa for a two-touch shot over the charging Iona keeper to make it 1-0.
It didn’t take long for FGCU to add the insurance – 29 seconds to be exact – when redshirt sophomore Donavan Henry (Parkland, Fla./Stoneman Douglas HS) worked the Eagles into the scoring chance. Following a good touch down the right wing that helped create space, Henry found a streaking Morse in the center of the goal box for a sliding goal before the back defender got there. Morse’s goal moved him into sixth place all-time with 19 career points.
The Eagles never allowed the Gaels to building any type of momentum of the offensive end, holding them without a shot in the final 45 minutes, while putting five of their nine shots on frame. Iona keeper Borja Barbero was busy in net, making six saves.
FGCU will wrap up play at the USF Tournament on Saturday at 5 p.m. when it takes on Conference USA member South Carolina. The Gamecocks are also in TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Tournament 48 ranking No. 32 and are receiving votes in the NSCAA Top 25 poll and College Soccer News poll. South Carolina’s game against No. 2 USF on Friday night was scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kick, but due to FGCU’s game being delayed and more inclement weather, the start was pushed back to 10:55 p.m.
Links to live stats for Saturday’s game can be found at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com, while in-game action can also be followed on twitter @FGCUMensSoccer. Fans can also get men’s soccer updates from around the Atlantic Sun and the nation by using the hashtag #ASUNMSOC or #D1MSOC on twitter.