ETSU eliminates Dolphins in quarters for second straight yeara
FT. MYERS, Fla. (Nov. 7, 2012) – The ETSU men’s soccer team kick-started the 2012 Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship by advancing past sixth-seeded Jacksonville, 1-0, in the quarterfinals on Wednesday evening at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
All-Atlantic Sun First Team selection Itode Fubara (Ogbema, Nigeria) scored the game’s only goal, putting the third-seeded Buccaneers ahead just five minutes after the first whistle. Atlantic Sun Player of the Year David Geno (Kingsport, Tenn.) raced a JU defender down the right side off a ball sent in by first team all-conference midfielder Alesi Osorio (Austin, Texas). Geno won the ball as the Dolphin slipped to the ground, and sent a cross through that Fubara met just a few yards from net to give ETSU a lead it never relinquished.
A-Sun Goalkeeper of the Year Ryan Coulter (Dublin, Ireland) made three saves, including a diving stop just a few minutes after Fubara’s goal, to earn his seventh shutout of the season. Coulter’s last test came with a little less than three minutes on the clock, but JU’s Matheus Saroli sent a free kick from just outside the top of the box high.
With the win, ETSU moves on to play in its fourth consecutive A-Sun Semifinals, where it will take on No. 2 Mercer.
“I’m very pleased with the result,” said ETSU head coach Scott Calabrese, who is now 3-0 in A-Sun Quarterfinals. “Anytime you play an elimination game, there is a lot on the line. I thought we performed well and created quite a few chances, and we were quite solid at the back. Our back line was steady and didn’t concede a whole lot of chances either.”
For the game, the Buccaneers outshot JU by a margin of 13-6, and put five shots on goal to JU’s three. A few of those opportunities could have given ETSU a more comfortable result, but Calabrese and his squad are more than happy to take the win.
“Though the score was 1-0, I thought we could have had one or two more,” Calabrese added, noting ETSU had left a few scoring opportunities on the table. “But we’ve survived and advanced, and we’re excited to get into that semifinal game.”
Junior Luis Calzadilla (Caracas, Venzuela) went for a quick strike with the tournament’s first shot 34 seconds in, sending the opportunity wide. The tournament’s first shot on goal came from Fubara, who slammed home Geno’s cross for his second goal of the season and seventh of his career. The assist extended Geno’s ETSU season and career records to eight and 16, respectively.
Coulter faced the first Dolphin attack a minute after Fubara’s goal, watching Saroli’s shot miss wide. Saroli – a first team all-conference member – was on target with his second shot in the 10th minute, but Coulter met the challenge with a diving stop to his left side.
Saroli wasn’t done testing the ETSU keeper, putting on another of his game-high four shots midway through the half. The attempt came from a free kick from outside the top-left corner of the area, bending around the ETSU wall before being snagged on the ground by Coulter.
The Buccaneers had their share of first-half chances as well. The first came when a corner by Nate Hodges (Meridian, Miss.) was sent to the far post, and redirected over the head of JU keeper Gavin Carlin before hitting off the top of the crossbar. Fubara was fed an excellent through ball from Osorio later on, but missed his chance high, while Geno looked for a strike on the counterattack, but was denied on one of Carlin’s four saves.
At halftime, ETSU held the one-goal lead with a 7-4 advantage in shots. The Bucs had a 4-1 edge in corners, and controlled the majority of the opening half’s play.
Hodges looked to contribute on the offensive end in the first minute of the second half. The junior defender was given space near midfield and took the ball all the way into the box before forcing Carlin to make another diving stop. The JU keeper’s most impressive save came in the 60th minute when Geno was played ahead up the left side. The conference’s player of the year had a defender breathing down his neck to his right, and took a shot toward the far post that Carlin reached out for deflected just enough to only surrender a corner.
Although ETSU controlled the majority of possession, it held an uncomfortable lead and would have liked some insurance. Senior Franck Doumbe (Silver Spring, Md.) nearly provided it after freshman Jeremy Saad (Sydney, Australia) fed him a cross through the box, but Doumbe’s open opportunity hit off the wrong part of his foot and went begging.
ETSU survived a mini-push from the Dolphins through the final minutes, and earned the right to take on No. 2 Mercer in the conference semifinals. Kickoff is scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m.
- ETSU is now 3-0 in A-Sun Quarterfinals, outscoring their opponents by a margin of 6-0.
- The win is ETSU’s second straight against JU in the quarters.
- ETSU takes the series lead 4-3-0 over the Dolphins.
- The Buccaneers’ semifinal appearance will be their fourth in a row, where they are currently 1-1-1. The tie came last year, with ETSU advancing past Stetson in an eight-round penalty shootout, 5-4.
- Itode Fubara scored his second goal of the season and the seventh of his ETSU career.
- David Geno bumped his ETSU season and career records in assists to eight and 16, respectively. His season and career records in points now stand at 30 and 62. Geno’s 30 points in a season are the most in the A-Sun since AntonAxelsson recorded 36 in 2007.
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For more information on ETSU men's soccer, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's soccer links.