JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Looking to secure itself as team to beat in the ASUN Conference once again, the FGCU men’s soccer team (4-3-1, 2-0-0 ASUN) did exactly that on Saturday night as the Eagles went on the road and took down last year’s league regular-season champion North Florida (1-7-1, 0-2-0 ASUN) with a decisive 2-0 victory.
FGCU received a penalty-kick goal from Robert Ferrer and a team-high-tying 3rd goal of the season from Shak Adams as the Eagles posted their third-straight shutout – the first time that has occurred since the 2013 season.
The victory moves FGCU alone into 2nd place in the ASUN standings with 6 points, just behind 1st-place Stetson – which has played one more conference game than FGCU, is 3-0 and has 9 points. The Eagles were installed as the league’s preseason favorite for the fifth-straight season, while UNF has now lost two-straight conference regular-season matches (unbeaten since 2015) and were picked to finish 2nd in the ASUN Preseason Poll.
“We played with a lot of heart and determination tonight,” said FGCU head coach Jesse Cormier, whose team played through a steady and consistent rain all evening in Northeast Florida. “UNF threw the house at us, but our guys played hard. Earlier in the season, I’m not sure we would have come through with this result, but tonight we showed a lot of resolve. It’s a big conference win against a rival opponent and something we can hopefully build momentum from.”
The PK came about after Chris Clement (Mallorca, Spain/Lycee Francais de Palma) broke through the midfield and found Dylan Sacramento (Winnipeg, Manitoba/York University/Bill Crothers S.S.) in the midfield. Sacramento then delivered a pass up the right side to Adams (Antioch, Tenn./Cane Ridge HS), whose cross was knocked down by a hand ball by the UNF defense.
Ferrer (Barcelona, Spain/Brevard College/IES Calamot) stepped up and deliberately buried the game-winning goal in the 56th minute as the senior converted his first career PK with the Green and Blue.
The insurance strike came in the 78th minute as once again it was Clement starting the play by breaking through the middle third of the UNF defense. Adams again used his blistering speed to get behind the Ospreys’ backline, and his cutting, left-footed shot beat UNF goalkeeper Tord Peterson.
Both teams attempted three shots in the opening half, but once again it was the stout FGCU backline doing a preeminent job as the Eagles did not allow a shot on frame for a third-consecutive half.
The Eagles finally allowed a shot on goal in the 2nd half, but keeper Connor Gavigan (Aurora, Colo./Creighton/Grandview HS) was equal to both of UNF’s attempts. The redshirt freshman has now posted three-consecutive shutouts, and in the process lowered his goals-against average to a miniscule 0.97 – the 3rd-lowest in the conference.
The win snapped a five-game stretch for FGCU against UNF in which they went 1-2-2 over that timeframe as the Eagles are now 9-2-2 all-time against the Ospreys.
The victory also extended FGCU’s dominant record to 42-5-5 in all ASUN regular-season games since the start of the 2010 season. Out of a possible 156 points that could have been earned in that time, the Green and Blue have claimed an incredible 131 of them (83.9 percent).
It was also the 99th all-time victory in program history as FGCU is now 99-66-25 (.587) in 10+ seasons (first year: 2007), including a dominant 54-18-7 (.728) record in ASUN contests.
FGCU will return home to begin a three-game homestand on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. against #17 Omaha (7-2-1). The Eagles resume to ASUN action on Saturday, Oct. 7, by welcoming Lipscomb to the FGCU Soccer Complex before FIU closes out the stretch on Tuesday, Oct. 10.
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, beginning with both of this weekend’s women’s soccer matches. 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.
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 118-92-48 (.550 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.