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FGCU Travels Up I-75 To Face Rival USF

Published: October 23, 2017

Matchup: FGCU (6-5-2) @ USF (6-5-2)
When: Tuesday, Oct. 24 | 7 PM
Where: Tampa, Fla. | Corbett Stadium
Links: Video | Live Stats
Series: USF Leads, 4-3-3
Coaches: Jesse Cormier (1st Season @ FGCU (6-5-2); 14th Overall (120-94-49)) | Bob Butehorn (1st Season @ USF (6-5-2); 15th Overall (135-99-30))

TAMPA – Storylines will be abundant on Tuesday when the FGCU men’s soccer team travels up I-75 to face rival USF at 7 p.m.

OPENING KICK

The game is a rematch from last season’s NCAA Tournament First Round in which FGCU clipped the Bulls in penalty kicks, 3-0, following a 2-2 tie to advance to the Second Round for the first time in its four NCAA Tournament appearances.

 

Tuesday will also mark FGCU’s first meeting with former head coach Bob Butehorn, who is now at the helm of USF after serving in the same role with the Eagles from the program’s initial season in 2007 through the end of last year.

 

Additionally, it renews one of the fiercest rivalries, not only in the state but in the region, as FGCU and USF will be meeting on the pitch for the 11th time since 2009.

 

AT A GLANCE

The match will serve as the second-to-last non-conference game of the campaign for FGCU as the Eagles will wrap up their non-league docket next Tuesday, Oct. 31, at FAU. The Eagles will serve as the final non-conference opponent for USF.

 

ALL-TIME vs. USF

All-time, USF holds a slim 4-3-3 edge in the series with FGCU, but over the past six meetings, the Eagles are 2-1-3.

 

FGCU’s first victory in the series came in 2010 with a 2-1 triumph when USF was ranked #13 in the nation. That victory came at USF in the season opener as the Green and Blue used two 2nd-half goals to snap USF’s 30-game home unbeaten streak (26-0-4) and earn their first win over a ranked opponent in the program’s history.

 

In the regular season last year, FGCU defeated USF at The Nest, 3-2, as the Eagles erased a 2nd-half deficit and used their nation-leading offense to score three times in a 3-minute-and-47-second span.

 

In the NCAA Tournament last November, both teams had one-goal leads in each half canceled out, and following 110 minutes of deadlocked action the match went to PKs. Rielee Mohsin, Miguel Jaime (Denver, Colo./Cherry Creek HS) and Albert Ruiz (Barcelona, Spain/CE L’Hospitalet/UE Cornella) all converted their penalties. Jared Brown (Aurora, Ontario/St. Maximilian Kolbe CHS) made one save, and two Bulls missed their target to send FGCU through to the Second Round.

 

SCOUTING USF

^ Freshman Adrian Billhardt leads USF with five goals and five assists for 15 points.

^ The Bulls are 5-2-0 at Corbett Stadium this season, and have accumulated a 32-11-9 record at home since 2013.

^ USF is four wins shy of a 10-victory season – something the program has achieved every year since 2013.

^ USF has already played four top-20 ranked teams, and two more which received votes in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25 National Poll, this season.

^ FGCU and USF have common opponents this year in Lipscomb, Loyola Marymount, North Florida, UCF and FIU. The Eagles and Bulls both defeated Lipscomb, UNF and UCF, each lost to FIU by a goal and USF beat LMU while FGCU tied the Lions.

 

INSIDE THE FGCU LINEUP

Shak Adams (Antioch, Tenn./Cane Ridge HS) leads the FGCU offensive attack with 12 points off a team-best five goals and two assists. Robert Ferrer (Barcelona, Spain/Brevard College/IES Calamot) has posted 10 points off four goals and a pair of assists, while Dennis Zapata (Orlando, Fla./University HS) – despite missing four matches with a hamstring injury – has produced three goals and a team-high four assists for his 10 points.

 

HIGHLIGHT-REEL FINISHES

Over the last few years, FGCU has turned in some highlight-reel goals which have garnered national attention. The most recent came on Oct. 10 against #14 FIU when freshman Kareem Riley (Couva, Trinidad and Tobago/Presentation College San Fernando) secured the No. 3 spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays for his incredible goal from about 40 yards. Riley sent a laser of a shot which stayed on line with the crossbar nearly the entire time before just dipping under the bar for his first collegiate goal and the eventual game-winner against #24 Omaha (watch the goal).

 

It’s the third time in the last 2+ seasons that the team has been featured on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays. The first was Preston Kilwien (San Francisco, Calif./College Park HS) (No. 3 on Sept. 10, 2015) and then Dylan Sacramento (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Bill Crothers S.S/York University) (No. 7 on Oct. 17, 2015).

 

LUCKY 100

With its 3-2 victory over #24 Omaha on Oct. 3, FGCU secured its 100th all-time win. The Eagles are 101-68-26 (.585) in 10+ seasons, including a dominant 55-19-8 (.719) record in ASUN contests. 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.

 

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 and faced North Carolina. 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.

 

NATIONALLY RANKED

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)

 

ALBERT RUIZ

Ruiz missed the first eight games of the year with an injury, but returned on Oct. 3. In the five games since as he continues to get his legs back, he has recorded three points off a goal and an assist.

 

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 was 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.

 

BUILDING A CHAMPIONSHIP PROGRAM

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.

 

NEXT UP

FGCU returns to Southwest Florida for its final home match of the year when the Eagles host Senior Night against NJIT on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 7.

 

The match is of extreme importance as FGCU and NJIT are tied for 2nd place in the ASUN with points off identical 3-1-1 records. With a win, the Eagles will guarantee themselves a bye into the ASUN Tournament semifinals, in addition to securing the No. 2 seed and hosting responsibilities for that matchup on Nov. 5.

 

FGCU Career Records

 

GOALS

 

 

 

POINTS

 

1

Albert Ruiz (14-Present)

31

 

1

Albert Ruiz (14-Present)

70

2

Cristian Raudales (08-11)

19

 

2

Cristian Raudales (08-11)

43

3

Felipe DeSousa (12-14)

18

 

3

Felipe DeSousa (12-14)

38

4

Henry Penagos (10-14)

13

 

4

Arion Sobers-Assue

37

5

Arion Sobers-Assue (14-Present)

12

 

5

Josey Portillo (08-11)

31

 

Scott Harrison (08-11)

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASSISTS

 

 

 

 

 

1

Josey Portillo (08-11)

15

 

 

 

 

2

Arion Sobers-Assue (14-Present)

13

 

 

 

 

3

Francesco DiStefano (08-11)

12

 

 

 

 

4

Andres Navas (09-12)

11

 

 

 

 

5

Deion Jones (09-12)

10

 

 

 

 

 

FGCU Single-Season Records

 

GOALS

 

 

 

 

POINTS

 

1

Albert Ruiz (2016)

22

 

 

1

Albert Ruiz (2016)

49

2

Arion Sobers-Assue (2016)

11

 

 

2

Arion Sobers-Assue (2016)

33

3

Albert Ruiz (2015)

7

 

 

3

Deion Jones (2010)

17

 

Felipe DeSousa (2012)

7

 

 

 

Scott Harrison (2008)

17

 

Cristian Raudales (2011)

7

 

 

5

Albert Ruiz (2015)

16

 

Deion Jones (2010)

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASSISTS

 

 

 

1

Arion Sobers-Assue (2016)

11

 

 

2

Josey Portillo (2011)

7

 

 

3

Deion Jones (2011)

6

 

 

 

Donovan Henry (2010)

6

 

 

 

William Morse (2011)

6

 

 

 

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.

 

FOLLOW ALONG

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 120-94-49 (.549 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.

 
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