FORT MYERS, Fla. – Fresh off a double-overtime triumph against Lipscomb in the semifinals that extended its win streak to seven games, the top-seeded FGCU men’s soccer team will look to capture its second straight Atlantic Sun Championship on Sunday in a title game showdown with second-seeded Mercer at 1 p.m.
Sunday will be rematch of last weekend’s game in Macon, Ga. that determined the A-Sun regular season champ and tournament host in which the Eagles prevailed, 1-0, on sophomore Santiago Echeverri’s (Kissimmee, Fla./Celebration HS) goal in the 52nd minute.
The winner of Sunday’s title game will receive the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. FGCU won last year’s Atlantic Sun Championship in its first year of postseason eligibility and will look to become only current A-Sun team to win back-to-back titles.
Fans can watch all of Sunday’s game on A-Sun TV for FREE through a link provided on www.FGCUATHLETICS.com. Brice Zimmerman will provide the play-by-play of the championship game with live postgame interviews and the trophy presentation immediately following.
The golden goal in the 103rd minute of FGCU’s 2-1 semifinal victory over Lipscomb came off the deadly right foot of freshman Felipe DeSousa (Vila Velha, Brazil/Wharton HS-FL), who buried home a rebound off a header by Echeverri. The A-Sun Freshman of the Year, DeSousa’s league-leading fifth game-winner put his season goal total at seven, equaling the program single-season record set in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
FGCU’s (10-5-2) current seven-game win streak is the second-longest in program history, sitting just one short of the eight-game win streak produced during the 2010 campaign, the final season of the four-year transition into Division I. Over the seven-game win streak, FGCU has out-scored its opponents 12-3.
The two teams have meet before in the A-Sun Tournament, as FGCU defeated Mercer 2-1 in last year’s semifinals. With this year’s 1-0 victory, the Eagles are 6-1 all-time against the Bears and have won five straight in the series.
The keeper matchup features a pair of sophomores who have logged every minute in frame this season. FGCU’s Nathan Ingham (Ontario, Canada/Keswick HS) and Mercer’s Greg Ranjitsingh are tied for the A-Sun lead with seven shutouts apiece. Ingham made four saves in last Saturday’s shutout of the Bears, earning A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week honors just a few days later.
An A-Sun All-Conference second team selection, Ranjitsingh was one of the heroes on Friday night in Mercer’s semifinal win over third-seeded ETSU that was decided by penalty kicks. The Bears converted all four of their penalty kicks and Ranjitsingh made to saves to send Mercer (11-6-2) into the final for the first time since 2009.