FORT MYERS, Fla. – In a rematch of the last year’s Atlantic Sun Championship game, the FGCU men’s soccer team used a goal by freshman Felipe DeSousa (Vila Velha, Brazil/Wharton HS-FL) in the 18th minute and held on for its fourth consecutive win to move into sole possession of second place in the league standings with a 1-0 victory over ETSU on Friday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
The win moves the Eagles (7-5-2) to 4-1-1 in the A-Sun, good for 13 points with two regular season matches remaining. ETSU now trails FGCU by one point at 4-2 in league play, while Mercer sits in first place with 15 points thanks to a 5-1 A-Sun mark. Before closing out the season at Mercer on Nov. 3, FGCU will host Stetson on Wednesday, Oct. 31 in its regular season home finale.
The reigning A-Sun Tournament champ, FGCU clinched a berth into this year’s Conference Tournament with the win.
“I’m very pleased with our effort and how we finished off tonight’s game,” said head coach Bob Butehorn. “Tonight didn’t always resemble FGCU soccer, but these are the type of games you have to win if you’re going to contend this late in the year.”
Facing the highest scoring team in the A-Sun, FGCU picked up its third shutout in the last four games and fifth of the season, as it became the first team to blank the Bucs since their season opener (14 games) at Appalachian State on Aug. 22. FGCU’s A-Sun home win streak now stands at 16 games, dating back to the end of the 2008 campaign, a span in which the Eagles have out-scored their opponents 43-8.
The reigning A-Sun Player of the Week, DeSousa’s game-winner is his fourth of the year, equaling the program single-season record set by another freshman Xavier Silva (Boca Raton, Fla./North Broward Prep) last season. DeSousa’s goal was his fourth in the last three games and ups his team-leading total to six on the year, one shy of the program record of seven set in 2010 by current senior Deion Jones (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS) and 2011 graduate Cristian Raudales (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee HS), accomplished the feat in his senior campaign.
Prior to the game, FGCU honored its five-member senior class of Jones, Will Morse (Sugar Land, Texas/Clements HS), Andres Navas (Miami, Fla./Sunset Senior HS/FIU), Jelani Smith (Mississauga, Canada/Rick Hansen Secondary) and Jeremy Vollmer (Carmel, Ind./Westfield HS). The five-member class picked up their 40th win tonight since arriving on campus, including a 26-5-1 mark in the A-Sun.
With solid scoring chances coming at a premium in the game, the opportunistic DeSousa struck at the 18:35 mark when he gained control of the ball 35 yards out in the middle of the field. Faced with a 1v1 opportunity with A-Sun Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year Ryan Coulter, DeSousa’s initial shot fake didn’t faze Coulter, but he was able to push his true attempt by the goalie for the eventual game-winner.
DeSousa has now scored the game-winning goal in the last three games during FGCU’s current win streak, as the Eagles improved to 7-0-1 this season when scoring first. DeSousa’s goal also made him the second player in program history to register a goal in three straight games, joining Morse, who accomplished the feat in September against Bucknell, Iona and South Carolina.
The FGCU defense did the rest, as it limited the potent Bucs’ attack to just six shots, keeping junior David Geno off the scoreboard. Geno came into the game in the top 10 national in points (29) and goals (11). Sophomore keeper Nathan Ingham (Keswick, Ontario/Keswick HS) earned is fifth shutout of the year, while Coulter’s two-game shutout streak came to an end.
Live stats and free A-Sun TV for Wednesday’s 7 p.m. showdown against in-state rival Stetson will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com. Fans can also get updates on twitter by following the team’s official account @FGCU_MSoccer. Along with updates on the team’s official twitter page, fans can also get updates from around the Atlantic Sun and the nation by using the hashtag #ASUNMSOC or #D1MSOC.