FORT MYERS, Fla. – In a game that followed a similar script as that of the FGCU’s men’s soccer team’s first three contests of the year, the Eagles fell behind early only to score a late goal but ultimately fell Saturday night in a game that ended early Sunday morning against the Wisconsin Badgers, 2-1.
Sophomore Felipe DeSousa (Tampa, Fla./Wharton HS) scored FGCU’s lone goal – his league-leading fourth of the season – in the 87th minute off an Isaiah Madrid (Albuquerque, N.M./El Dorado HS) set-piece shot that hit the crossbar.
FGCU, which billed the game as a #Big10FaceOff with the volleyball team hosting No.3 Penn State earlier in the evening, attempted to set a conference and program attendance record, but lightning delayed the start of the game by more than two hours. The two teams kicked off at 10:10 p.m. and wrapped things up after midnight as for the second time through the first four matches this year FGCU (0-3-1) started and ended the same game on two different days.
For the fourth straight game to start the year, the Green and Blue allowed a goal within the first 15 minutes to fall behind, as this time it came off a header on a set piece from about 25 yards out in the 13th minute. The Badgers (4-0-1) tallied another goal just six minutes later – again off a header – but this time on a corner kick to take a 2-0 lead before 20 minutes had been completed.
DeSousa – who entered tied for 11th in the NCAA in goals per game – scored one of the easiest of his career late in the contest off a great, bending effort by Madrid. The ball careened off the crossbar and back down onto the Brazilian native’s head for his 11th career tally – one shy of tying 2011 graduate Scott Harrison for second on the all-time list with just 18 games played.
Madrid had two more opportunities in the final two minutes to convert the equalizer, but his shot in the 89th minute went high, and with just 18 seconds left his set-piece effort from the left wing was saved by Wisconsin keeper Casey Beyers.
“We didn’t execute our scouting report on Wisconsin’s restarts and we got punished for that tonight by not defending them properly,” head coach Bob Butehorn said. “We implemented some different tactics in the second half that really started to worked, but that’s something we should have done earlier in the contest.
Wisconsin – which has 13 seniors on its roster compared with none for FGCU – entered Saturday’s tilt ranked No. 6 the NSCAA Great Lakes Region Poll and was coming off a 2-0 victory at USF on Thursday night. The last time FGCU faced a Big Ten opponent it came away with a 1-0 win at home over then-No. 5 Ohio State, a game which had 1,322 spectators.
The Eagles still drew 346 fans, despite the late start and early-morning finish. FGCU’s attendance goal was 2,500, which would have been almost 1,000 more than the Soccer Complex record and nearly 700 more than the A-Sun record. The Eagles’ previous attendance record was 1,556, set in 2011 against then-No. 13 USF. Former A-Sun member Campbell set the largest known league attendance record as it drew 1,857 spectators to its contest against Lipscomb.
Saturday night’s match marked FGCU’s final home game for three weeks as the Eagles next head to opposite corners of the country the following two weekends. Next weekend the Green and Blue travel to the Pacific Northwest for games with Washington and Seattle on Friday and Sunday (Sept. 20 and 22), respectively. The next weekend, the team heads to the Northeast for contests against Penn and Princeton.
2013-14 men’s soccer season tickets are now available by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets. Season tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for youth (ages 3-12). Single-game tickets can also be purchased for $6 per adult and $3 for youth. Groups of 10+ can receive a discounted rate of $3 per person. FGCU students and faculty/staff are admitted for free with a valid University ID.