FORT MYERS, Fla. – Junior Andres Navas’ (Miami, Fla./Sunset Senior HS) goal in the 68th minute of the second half broke a 1-1 tie and sent the FGCU men’s soccer team to a 2-1 Atlantic Sun victory over visiting Lipscomb on a cool Friday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
Navas’ game-winning goal was his second of the season, as the Eagles earned three valuable points in the A-Sun standings while improving to 7-4-2 on the season. With the win, FGCU (4-1) took over sole possession of second place in the A-Sun, moving ahead of Lipscomb (4-10-2, 3-3), and increased its A-Sun home unbeaten streak to 13 games (12-0-1).
“I saw some very good things as we were able to put some plays together this evening,” said fifth-year head coach Bob Butehorn. “We produced some timely goals and I thought our defense played well tonight, but I think we can work on managing the game a little better when we have a match under control. We are going to have to come out with the same intensity on Sunday against Belmont.”
The pace of play throughout the game belonged to the Eagles, evident by their 17-5 shot advantage. The Green and Blue’s fast paced attack broke through in the latter seconds of the 19th minute when freshman Xavier Silva (Boca Raton, Fla./North Broward Prep) was hauled down in the box, resulting in a penalty kick.
Senior Cristian Raudales (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee HS) lined up to take the kick and left no doubt by burying the shot towards the left half of the net for his team-leading fifth goal and a 1-0 FGCU lead. The penalty kick goal is the third (3-3) of Raudales’ career and his program-leading 17th tally.
Despite possessing the ball for a majority of the opening half, FGCU gave up just its second shot of the frame with 19 seconds left, but it resulted in a well-played transition goal for the Bisons that tied the score at 1-1 right before the break. Lipscomb quickly moved up the field and a cross from the right side found Drew Longinotti at the top center of the 18 where he drilled a shot by FGCU keeper Nathan Ingham (Ontario, Canada/Keswick HS) who was making his first career start.
Lipscomb nearly took its first lead of the game in the 52nd minute when defenseman Kevin Barbar worked his way towards the middle of the box and used his height to head a shot right on net. The ball appeared to be heading into the left side, but was cleared off the line by junior Deion Jones (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS).
After several good scoring chances of their own over the opening minutes of the second half, the Eagles finally broke through at the 67:46 mark on Navas’ third goal of the season. Senior Josey Portillo (Metairie, La./Grace King HS) added his team-leading sixth assist to start the play, while junior William Morse (Sugar Land, Texas/Clements HS) played a ball from the center to the left side to the goal box where a streaking Navas put a shot into the far corner for the 2-1 lead.
FGCU’s midfield and defense did the rest, as Lipscomb got off just three shots in the second half and five for the game.
Ingham was forced to make just one save en route to winning the first game of his collegiate career in net. Portillo’s assist on the game-winning goal equaled a single-season record with six and was the program-leading 14th of his career.
FGCU will now turn its attention to Sunday’s Senior Day showdown with Belmont. Roughly 15 minutes prior to the start of the 1 p.m. contest, the Eagles will honor their nine-member senior class. The Bruins fell to Stetson, 2-0, tonight to even their A-Sun mark at 2-2-2.