Matchup: Loyola Marymount (1-4-1) @ FGCU (1-3-0)
When: Friday, Sept. 15 | 7 PM
Where: FGCU Soccer Complex
Links: Watch | Live Stats
Coaches: Jesse Cormier (1st Season @ FGCU (1-3-0); 14th Overall, 115-92-47) | Paul Krumpe (19th Season @ LMU (174-139-44); Same Overall)
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Despite complications stemming from Hurricane Irma, the FGCU men’s soccer team and Loyola Marymount are set to face off on Friday night in what will be the Eagles’ home opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the FGCU Soccer Complex.
While campus is closed for classes and operations until Monday, Sept. 18, at the earliest, in an attempt to resume normalcy as quickly and safely as possible, FGCU and LMU were able to get the match played – thanks in large part to the Lions’ flexibility in traveling from Los Angeles.
Admission to Friday’s match will be free to everyone. Those unable to make it to the FGCU Soccer Complex can watch and follow all the action via the video stream on Facebook Live and live stats from StatBroadcast (links at the top of this release).
FGCU will be playing for the first time in nearly two weeks as the Eagles last took to the pitch on Sept. 3. The Green and Blue were scheduled to have their home opener contested on Sunday, Sept. 10, but due to Irma that match against VCU was canceled.
ALL-TIME AGAINST LOYOLA MARYMOUNT
FGCU and Loyola Marymount will be meeting for the second-straight season after the Eagles suffered a 2-1 loss in LA last September. That was the first-ever contest between the two teams, and also was the last loss for FGCU before the Green and Blue rattled off a program- and nation-best 10-match winning streak.
SCOUTING LOYOLA MARYMOUNT
LMU has just one win early in the season, but the Lions have already suffered three one-goal losses – including their most recent match at Sacramento State (2-1 OT) on Sunday.
The Lions are led offensively by Alvaro Madrigal with a pair of goals for four points. In net, Collin Partee has seen the majority of the action and has a 1.49 goals-against average in 544 minutes.
Following the match against FGCU, LMU is expected to spend the weekend in Tampa with the goal to assist the community post-Irma by volunteering on Saturday before facing USF on Sunday.
SLOW START … GREAT FINISH?
Despite the 1-3-0 start to the season, FGCU can look back to just a year ago for motivation to quickly turn things around. The Eagles began the 2016 campaign 0-2-1 before rattling off the aforementioned 10-straight wins en route to a 14-4-3 overall record, an ASUN Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament Second Round appearance.
TOUGH STARTING STRETCH
The Eagles have been injury-plagued early in the season, and have also played a challenging schedule as FGCU opened the year at #3 Denver, Air Force (receiving votes in the national polls) and Vermont. Denver, Air Force and Vermont combined to go 48-15-5 last year and win four NCAA Tournament contests. FGCU led the nation in points last year with 179, Air Force was 4th (133), Denver was 5th (128) and Vermont was 8th (120).
Additionally, in all four games this year, FGCU has been without several key players, including ASUN Preseason Player of the Year Albert Ruiz and ASUN Preseason All-Conference Team member Kamar Marriott because of injuries.
FGCU has been installed as the preseason ASUN favorites. Reigning ASUN Player of the Year Ruiz (Barcelona, Spain/UE Cornella/CE L’Hospitalet) was selected as the unanimous preseason choice to repeat, while Nicolas Samayoa (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Colegio Valle Verde) – who has also missed one match this year already because of an illness – was chosen as the ASUN Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Senior midfielders Miguel Jaime (Denver, Colo./Cherry Creek HS) and Marriott (Tampa, Fla./Heritage HS) joined Ruiz and Samayoa on the 12-player All-ASUN Preseason Team.
It 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).
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.
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)
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 is 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.
INSIDE THE SCHEDULE
FGCU’s 16-game schedule features 10 non-conference matchups and seven home contests all scheduled for 7 p.m. starts. Three opponents made NCAA Tournament appearances in 2016, and three more lost in their respective conference tournament final. Nine opponents join FGCU in having finished in the top 100 of the RPI last year (FGCU: No. 36).
BUILDING A CHAMPIONSHIP PROGRAM
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. All-time, the Eagles are 96-66-24 (.581) in 10+ seasons, including a dominant 52-18-7 (.721) record in ASUN contests.
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.
DATE CHANGE / NEXT UP
FGCU’s home contest against UCF originally scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 20, has been moved to Tuesday, Sept. 19. The contest will still be played at the FGCU Soccer Complex, and will begin at the originally-scheduled time of 7 p.m. Fans who have already purchased tickets to the game and are now unable to attend because of the date change will be allowed to redeem their ticket(s) for another home men’s soccer game of their choosing this season, or will receive a refund.
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 115-92-47 (.545 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.