FORT MYERS, Fla. – Thanks to a 3-2 double-overtime win by the 2nd-seeded and nationally-ranked #20 FGCU men’s soccer team over 3rd-seeded Lipscomb Saturday night, and a 1-0 upset victory by 5th-seeded Jacksonville against top-seeded North Florida Sunday night, the Eagles will host the ASUN Championship Final Saturday night at 7 from the FGCU Complex.
The Eagles (13-3-2) and Dolphins (8-9-0) will be meeting for the first time in ASUN Championship history as FGCU is in search of its fourth league title in just six years of postseason eligibility. FGCU has won the ASUN Championship each of the previous three times it has reached the title game (2011, 2012, 2014).
Tickets to Saturday’s primetime match are just $7 for adults and $5 for youth ages 12 and under. Children 2 and under are admitted free of charge, as are students of ASUN institutions with a valid school ID. Tickets can be purchased in advance by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. or by logging on to FGCUTickets.com.
Jacksonville began the single-elimination tournament by defeating 4th-seeded NJIT, 2-1, on UNF’s home pitch Friday night before stunning their cross-city rival on Sunday. The Eagles – like the Ospreys – received an opening-round bye before hosting Lipscomb, which shut out 6th-seeded Stetson at The Nest on Thursday, 3-0.
The regular-season meeting between FGCU and Jacksonville was originally scheduled for Oct. 8 but was postponed due to Hurricane Matthew. The match was rescheduled for Oct. 25, and the Eagles went to JU and claimed a 2-1 victory on the strength of a pair of 2nd-half goals. After Jacksonville took a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute, FGCU dominated the match as the Eagles attempted 14 of the game’s final 16 shots en route to a final shot advantage of 15-5.
After losing the first three meetings against JU and being out-scored in that timeframe, 9-1, FGCU has won the last seven in a row versus the Dolphins, out-scoring them, 20-5.
The Eagles reached the ASUN Championship Final thanks to a Rielee Mohsin (Stuart, Fla./Nichols College/Martin County HS) header as the junior tallied the game-winning goal in the early stages of the 2nd overtime Saturday night to propel the Green and Blue to the dramatic 3-2 victory.
The win tied FGCU’s single-season program record for victories with 13 along with the 2010 squad. After starting the season 0-2-1, the Eagles are now 13-1-1 over their last 15 matches and have unofficially moved up to 37th in the RPI – a key determining factor in the Men’s Soccer Selection Committee’s decision into picking the at-large squads in the 48-team NCAA Tournament.
FGCU is ranked #20 in the country in the highly-respected College Soccer News National Poll, in addition to appearing at #22 in the NSCAA poll, which is the only ranking the NCAA officially recognizes. A new NSCAA poll will be released Tuesday afternoon.
The Eagles have scored a nation-best 55 goals – 10 more than any other team – and have secured 156 points – 15 more than any other team. Both totals have shattered the program’s previous single-season records (35 and 108, respectively).
Junior Albert Ruiz (Barcelona, Spain/ CE L’Hospitalet/UE Cornella) leads the country in goals with 19 and points with 43 as he has scored two more goals than anyone else in the nation and has eight more points than anyone else. Redshirt sophomore Arion Sobers-Assue (Miami, Fla./DeMatha Catholic HS) is tied for 9th in the nation with 11 goals and 30 points as he would have easily broken FGCU’s single-season program marks in those categories as well if not for Ruiz’s campaign.
Since becoming postseason eligible for the 2011 season, FGCU has gone 7-2-0 in nine ASUN Championship contests. The seven victories in only 5+ seasons are more than any other current team in the league’s history with the exception of Stetson – which only has 10 victories and has been postseason eligible since 1985.
The Eagles have scored at least two goals in every match this year with the exception of three – and two of those came in the first three outings of the year. FGCU has not been shut out all year, something that has never happened the 10-year history of the program.
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.
FGCU is led by Bob Butehorn, who has coached six professional players and 63 ASUN All-Conference selections since FGCU started its program in 2007. In just five years of postseason eligibility, Butehorn has guided FGCU to three ASUN Tournament championships and NCAA Tournament appearances – in 2011, 2012 and 2014 – and won an unprecedented six-straight ASUN regular-season championships from 2010-15. His teams have been ranked nationally on several occasions by multiple media outlets, including a program-record #11 NSCAA ranking in 2016. Now in his 14th season as a head coach, Butehorn has a 128-93-27 (.571) overall record, 94-61-23 (.593) mark in his 10th season at FGCU and 52-18-7 (.721) record in ASUN contests.
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.