BOCA RATON, Fla. – The FGCU men’s soccer team (8-5-3) closed out its regular season on Tuesday night with a 3-0 win at FAU (1-14-0).
The Eagles received goals from Dennis Zapata and Tom Denat in the 1st half, Shak Adams in the 2nd stanza and goalkeepers Connor Gavigan and Gustavo Vasconcelos teamed up in net to post FGCU’s seventh shutout of the season.
FGCU – coming off a crucial ASUN Conference victory over NJIT on Sunday – left several normal starters at home to rest due to the tight turnaround and upcoming postseason tournament, but the Eagles still cruised to a second-straight clean sheet. The triumph over FAU also moved FGCU ahead in the all-time series with the Owls, 5-4-1.
“We have some momentum right now. The guys are attacking and pressing well, and we have a few key people getting back healthy and fit,” commented FGCU head coach Jesse Cormier, whose team was missing several starters a majority of the year because of injuries. “We have taken pride in defending these last few matches, and that’s been an obvious component of the success. I’m happy with how we’re taking on all dimensions of the game and not just pieces.
“With leaving some guys at home to rest, we had some other people step up and preform really well tonight,” added Cormier, who did not travel reigning ASUN Defensive Player of the Week Nicolas Samayoa, Dylan Sacramento, Robert Ferrer or Caleb George. “TC Anderson and Jahan Rajaee were really good in their roles, and it was nice to see Arion Sobers-Assue get a point. Miguel Jaime also put together a strong individual performance. Overall, it was a good road win, and it was a closer match than the 3-0 scoreline would indicate.”
That scoreline featured FGCU out-shooting FAU, 15-9, including a dominant 9-1 edge in terms of shots on net. The Eagles forced FAU keeper Luis Aranzazu into six saves – in addition to the three goals allowed – while Gavigan (Aurora, Colo./Creighton/Grandview HS) and Vasconcelos (Recife, Brazil/Colegio GGE) combined needed to make just one save, and that was the redshirt freshman’s Vasconcelos’s first of his career.
The first FGCU goal came after a creative setup in the midfield by Adams (Antioch, Tenn./Cane Ridge HS) and Jaime (Denver, Colo./Cherry Creek HS), which set up a shot by Adams that was saved. However, the rebound putback was deposited in the 14th minute by Zapata (Orlando, Fla./University HS) for his fourth goal of the campaign.
In the 18th minute, sophomore transfer Denat (Toulouse, France/William Penn University/College des Trois Vallees) – making his first start with the Green and Blue – recorded his first goal with the Eagles. Jaime played a short corner to Jiro Barriga Toyama (Chiba, Japan/Barton CC/Chibakennrituoihama HS), who slipped a pass across to Denat, and the midfielder buried his effort into the far corner.
The 2-0 scoreline remained intact until the 87th minute when sophomore Adams tallied his team-leading seventh goal of the season. Sobers-Assue (Miami, Fla./DeMatha Catholic HS) flicked in a pass to Adams, and the forward took one big touch to beat the FAU defense and deposited the insurance strike.
FGCU will now turn its focus to the ASUN Tournament. The 2nd-seeded Eagles have a bye into the semifinals, which they will host on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 1 p.m. FGCU will also host an opening-round matchup between No. 3 NJIT (8-7-3, 3-2-1 ASUN) and No. 6 Lipscomb (9-7-1, 2-4-0 ASUN) on Friday, Nov. 3, at 5 p.m.. The Green and Blue will play the winner of that contest in the semifinals.
Top-seeded Stetson (7-6-2, 4-0-2 ASUN) will host the other semifinal on Nov. 5 as the Hatters will take on the winner of No. 4 North Florida (3-9-2, 2-3-1 ASUN) and No. 5 Jacksonville (4-9-1, 2-3-1 ASUN) which will be contested on Nov. 3.
The highest remaining seed after the two semifinals will host the final on Saturday, Nov. 11. Additional information regarding the ASUN Men’s Soccer Championship can be found by logging on to ASUNSports.org.
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.
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 122-94-50 (.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.