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FGCU Hosts #17 FIU Tuesday Night

Published: October 9, 2017

Matchup: #17 FIU (6-0-3) @ FGCU (6-3-1)
When: Tuesday, Oct. 10 | 7 PM
Where: Fort Myers, Fla. | FGCU Soccer Complex
Links: Watch | Live Stats | Tickets
Series: FIU Leads, 6-3
Coaches: Jesse Cormier (1st Season @ FGCU (6-3-1); 14th Overall (120-92-48)) | Kevin Nylen (1st Season @ FIU (6-0-3); Same Overall)

 

FORT MYERS, Fla. – For the second time in a week, the FGCU men’s soccer team hosts a nationally-ranked opponent as the Eagles welcome #17 FIU on Tuesday night for a 7 p.m. kickoff at the FGCU Soccer Complex.

 

OPENING KICK

FIU is one of three remaining undefeated teams in the nation along with #1 Indiana (10-0-2) and #3 Maryland (9-0-3). The Panthers are ranked 17th in the most recent United Soccer Coaches Poll, and will likely be higher by the time this week’s poll is released on Tuesday.

 

After opening the season 1-3-0, FGCU is unbeaten in its last six matches (5-0-1), including a five-game winning streak. That quintet of victories is halfway to the program’s all-time record of 10 straight set last season, and is tied for the 5th-longest active streak in the nation.

 

The run for FGCU is potentially shaping up very similar to what the club did a season ago. Last year, the Eagles opened the campaign 0-2-1 before claiming the program- and nation-best winning streak en route to a 14-4-3 overall record, an ASUN Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament Second Round appearance.

 

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.

 

FIU SERIES

Tuesday’s match will mark the third-straight year that FGCU and FIU will meet when one of the teams is nationally ranked. Each of the last two seasons that club has been FGCU.

 

FGCU and FIU have played every year since the Eagles’ program began in 2007, with the exception of the 2012 campaign. FIU holds a 6-3 edge in the all-time series, and had won four meetings in a row until FGCU’s 4-1 victory last year when the Eagles were ranked #12.

 

REPEAT PERFORMANCE?

The contest with FIU will mark the second-consecutive Tuesday that FGCU hosts a nationally-ranked team. On Oct. 3, the Green and Blue took down then-#24 Omaha, 3-2, for the program’s 100th all-time win.

 

ABOUT FIU

^ Three times already this year, FIU has scored a pair of goals in the opening 10 minutes of a match.

^ Santiago Patino leads the nation in goals and points with 12 and 26, respectively. The junior is coming off a hat trick as part of a 4-0 win over Marshall on Saturday.

^ FGCU and FIU share one common opponent this year. On Sept. 26, FIU defeated North Florida, 5-0, and four days later the Eagles took down the Ospreys, 2-0.

 

LOCKING IN DEFENSIVELY

FIU leads the nation in goals per game (2.89), ranks 3rd in points per game (8.0) and is 7th in total goals with 26. That offense will be tested by FGCU’s defense which has secured shutouts in half of its 10 matches this year. That shutout percentage ranks as the 22nd-best in the country.

 

The Eagles have shut out four of their past five opponents, with the only goals being scored against them in the last 450 minutes coming in the aforementioned contest versus Omaha.

 

Earlier on Monday, redshirt freshman goalkeeper Connor Gavigan was named ASUN Defensive Player of the Week after making five saves – the 2nd-most a game this year – in a 2-0 shutout of Lipscomb on Saturday night. It was Gavigan’s third-straight shutout to open ASUN play as FGCU is the only team in the league which has yet to allow a goal in conference action. On the year, Gavigan (Aurora, Colo./Creighton/Grandview HS) has posted five shutouts – the 2nd-most in the ASUN and 22nd-most in the nation – and leads the conference with a 0.85 goals-against average.

 

INSIDE THE FGCU LINEUP

Robert Ferrer leads the FGCU offensive attack with 10 points. Ferrer (Barcelona, Spain/Brevard College/IES Calamot) has scored four goals and added two assists; three of the goals have been game-winners which is tied for the 12th-most in the nation.

 

Despite missing four matches with a hamstring injury, Dennis Zapata (Orlando, Fla./University HS) has produced a pair of goals and a team- and league-leading four assists for eight points.

 

Sophomore Shak Adams (Antioch, Tenn./Cane Ridge HS) has turned in seven points off three goals and an assist, while defender Preston Kilwien (San Francisco, Calif./College Park HS) has scored three goals for six points.

 

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 last Tuesday 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 Kilwien (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

The Eagles are 101-66-25 (.591) in 10+ seasons, including a dominant 55-18-7 (.731) 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.

 

ASUN UPDATE

While FGCU is stepping out of conference action with the game against FIU, the Eagles sit alone in 2nd place in the ASUN standings with 9 points at 3-0-0, just behind Stetson with 12 points at 4-0-0. The Eagles head to DeLand this Saturday, Oct. 14, for a pivotal match with the Hatters at 7 p.m. FGCU was installed as the ASUN preseason favorites, and it has commenced league play with victories over each of the three teams selected below it – North Florida (2nd), Lipscomb (3rd) and Jacksonville (4th).

 

ASUN DOMINANCE

FGCU owns a dominant record of 43-5-5 in all ASUN regular-season games since the start of the 2010 season. Out of a possible 159 points that could have been earned in that time, the Green and Blue have claimed an impressive 134 of them (84 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.

 

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 last Tuesday against Omaha. In the two games since, he has scored one goal and added an assist in the other. 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.

 

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 (14-Present)

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

 

 

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 120-92-48 (.553 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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