FORT MYERS, Fla. – The No. 22 FGCU men’s soccer team (4-2-3, 2-0-1) returns home on Saturday to face Lipscomb (4-7-1, 2-1-0) in a crucial late-season Atlantic Sun Conference contest on Senior Night. Kickoff from the FGCU Soccer Complex in a rematch of last year’s A-Sun co-regular-season champions is set for 7 p.m.
Before the game, FGCU will honor its six graduating seniors: Aaron Guillen, Skylar Wilks, Steven Oliveri, Rodrigo Saravia, Luis Vega and Nathan Ingham. In addition to Senior Night, it also represents the program’s Kick Pink contest as FGCU-branded short- and long-sleeve shirts will be on sale for $10 and $15, respectively, with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.
A live, HD video broadcast of the match will be available by clicking here or visiting FGCUAthletics.com/LiveMSoc. Additionally, live stats can be accessed by clicking here, and fans can stay posted and interact throughout the match on Twitter by following @FGCU_MSoccer. All of this information, and more, can be found on the brand-new gameday central page by clicking here.
FGCU climbed back into the Top Drawer Soccer national rankings this week as the Eagles are riding a five-game unbeaten streak, going 3-0-2 dating back to Sept. 19. It marks the second time this year the Green and Blue has been nationally ranked by TDS as after tying then-No. 3 Georgetown in the season opener they checked in at No. 19. This is the highest FGCU has been ranked during the regular season in any national poll since 2010 when it also checked in at No. 19 in the Soccer America poll on Nov. 2 and Nov. 9.
FGCU is alone atop the A-Sun standings with 7 points from its 2-0-1 record. Lipscomb enters the match alone in second place with 6 points and a 2-1-0 conference mark. North Florida has 4 points and sits in third place with a 1-0-1 record, while USC Upstate (1-1-0) and Jacksonville (1-3-0) each have 3 points and Stetson (0-2-0) has yet to claim a point in league action. Each team will play five regular-season A-Sun matches, and the only other league matchup Saturday night is Stetson visiting North Florida.
FGCU owns a dominant 34-4-4 record in all A-Sun regular-season games since the start of the 2010 season. All four of those losses have come on the road, and out of a possible 126 points that could have been earned in that time, the Eagles have claimed an impressive 106 of them en route to an unprecedented five-straight A-Sun regular-season titles.
Furthermore, when the Eagles take to the pitch Saturday night, they’ll be looking to extend the nation’s longest home regular-season conference unbeaten streak to 28. Dating back to 2008, the Eagles have gone an incredible 24-0-3. FGCU’s last home regular-season A-Sun loss came to Jacksonville, 2-0, on Oct. 19, 2008 – more than 2,500 days ago.
While the Bisons are below .500 overall, they do have an impressive 2-1 win over then-No. 10 Xavier and battled then-No. 13 Elon tough in a 1-0 setback last weekend. In A-Sun action so far this year, Lipscomb has defeated USC Upstate, 3-0, lost to North Florida, 3-0, and edged Jacksonville, 3-2.
Lipscomb is led offensively by Logan Paynter and Matt Kerridge with four goals and eight points apiece. Micah Bledsoe has started all but one game in net for the Bisons and has a 1.57 goals-against average and .700 save percentage.
FGCU leads the all-time series with Lipscomb, 6-3. Lipscomb took the first meeting between the two sides, 2-0, in 2007, but after that FGCU defeated the Bisons five times over the next five years – all coming by the same 2-1 score. The Eagles dropped a 3-1 match in the regular season at Lipscomb in 2012, but rebounded with a 2-1 win in the A-Sun Championship semifinal later that year. In 2013, the Green and Blue earned a 1-0 victory at home over the Bisons in the league opener, but fell in Nashville last season, 2-1.
CLOSING IN ON HISTORY
Last week’s A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week, Ingham started this week with another shutout at FAU on Tuesday night. The clean sheet was his fourth of the year and 23rd of his career. Additionally, he lowered his goals-against average to 0.42 and his save percentage increased to .875 as both of those league-leading values rank as the 6th-best in the entire nation.
Ingham has twice as many shutouts as any other goalkeeper in the league despite playing four fewer games than anyone else who has recorded a clean sheet. At this pace, Ingham would shatter the A-Sun single-season record for goals-against average as the current mark is 0.61 held by Centenary’s Damin Hill in 1987. Last year, Ingham posted a 0.71 goals-against average to rank as the fourth-best single season in league history.
With his 23 career shutouts, Ingham is now within two of tying and three of breaking the all-time A-Sun mark. Additionally, Ingham – who was named the PDL Championship MVP this summer – is also closing in on the A-Sun record for lowest career goals-against average. A-Sun men’s soccer history dates back to 1979.
A-Sun Career Shutouts
1) Ryan Coulter: 25 (ETSU, 2011-13)
2) Nathan Ingham: 23 (FGCU, 2011-Present)
Jeff Cassar: 23 (FIU, 1992-95)
A-Sun Career Goals-Against Average (minimum 2,000 minutes)
1) Ryan Coulter: 0.95 (ETSU, 2011-13)
2) Nathan Ingham: 0.96 (FGCU, 2011-Present)
3) Kyle Roelke: 1.00 (Belmont, 2004-05)
ONE FOR THE OTHER THUMB?
By virtue of a 4-1-1 A-Sun record last year, FGCU claimed an unprecedented fifth-straight A-Sun regular-season championship and will be looking to extend that run to six in 2015. Despite only joining the league and becoming a Division-I member in 2007, FGCU is the first program in the history of the A-Sun to claim at least a share of five-straight regular-season titles.
FGCU steps out of conference play again next week as the Eagles entertain cross-state foe FIU on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. The Panthers are 7-4-0 overall and were ranked among some of the country’s best teams in the RPI until a pair of recent one-goal losses.
Including a redshirt year, FGCU’s six seniors have won four-straight A-Sun regular-season championships, three A-Sun Tournament championships, made three NCAA Tournament appearances and posted a 43-28-14 overall record and a dominant 25-4-5 record in A-Sun games.
#33 Aaron Guillen (El Paso, Texas/Coronado HS)
A mainstay in the Eagles’ lineup since stepping foot on campus, Guillen was named to the A-Sun All-Freshman Team after playing in all 19 games during his first season. As a sophomore he was the central defender for an FGCU defense which allowed the fewest amount of goals in the A-Sun during league matches en route to earning a place on the A-Sun First Team. He was named an A-Sun First Team selection again as a junior and A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week once as he started all 19 games he appeared in and was substituted out for only one 10-minute overtime session all season. This year, he was named as a Preseason A-Sun All-Conference Team member and has started all nine games and again is a formidable force in an FGCU backline which is on pace for a record-breaking season. For his career, Guillen has started 62 of the 63 games he’s appeared in, and has one goal and three assists for five points while serving as the anchor of a dominant FGCU back four.
#23 Skylar Wilks (Tampa, Fla./Newsome HS)
Wilks joined the team prior to his sophomore season in 2013 and made an immediate impact. In his first season with the Eagles, he led the team and finished tied for fifth in the A-Sun with four assists as a defender. Last year, Wilks was the only field player to play and start all 20 games and was second in minutes to only Ingham. As a left back, he helped FGCU allow the fewest goals in the A-Sun. This year, he began the season in his traditional left back position, but has since moved into a forward position and has proved to be a vital offensive weapon for the Eagles. Wilks issued two assists in the A-Sun opener against Jacksonville and then followed it up with his first career goal a few nights later at Stetson. For his career, Wilks has one goal and seven assists for eight points primarily all out of his left back position.
#8 Steven Oliveri (Stuart, Fla./Jensen Beach HS)
Oliveri started 13 games as a freshman before having a breakout sophomore campaign in which he was named to the A-Sun Second Team. One of the team’s most important players, Oliveri recorded the most minutes of any midfielder on the roster as he started all 16 of the games that he appeared in. Last year, Oliveri was a unanimous choice to the A-Sun Academic Team as he started 18 of the 19 games he appeared in and was a vital contributor to a league-high nine shutouts. He also issued his first, and only, career assist on an insurance strike as part of a 3-1 FGCU victory over Northern Kentucky. This year, he has appeared in all nine of the Eagles’ matches with two starts. For his career, Oliveri has started at midfield in 49 of the 62 games he’s appeared in.
#6 Rodrigo Saravia (Guatemala City, Guatemala/College Internacional Montessori)
Saravia earned his place among the league’s elite during his first season as he was named to the A-Sun All-Freshman Team in 2012 after starting all 19 games and posting a game-winning goal. He followed it up with a spot on the A-Sun Second Team as a sophomore after starting all 16 games he appeared in and issuing two assists. Last year, he was named to both the A-Sun First Team and A-Sun Academic Team as he helped control the middle of the pitch for the Eagles, playing in 19 of 20 games and making 18 starts. He scored one goal on the year out of the midfield position and helped FGCU allow the fewest goals of any A-Sun team. During the summer he trained with the full Guatemala National Team – the lone collegiate and amateur player in the camp. This year, he was a Preseason A-Sun All-Conference Team selection and has played in all nine of FGCU’s games while making eight starts and contributing three assists. For his career, Saravia has started 61 of the 63 games he’s appeared in, while scoring two goals and issuing seven assists for 11 points from his midfield position.
#2 Luis Vega (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Montverde Academy)
After not appearing in the first nine games as a freshman, Vega has been a mainstay at the right back position for the Eagles the past four seasons. He played in each of the final 10 games as a freshman, earning starts in six of those matches and then carried the momentum into his sophomore season. In 2013, he was the only FGCU defender to score a goal in non-conference play as part of a 3-2 win over Penn and was an essential back line member for a team which only allowed four goals in eight A-Sun games. Last year, he appeared in 14 contests and made 10 starts, once again serving as a valuable member of a back four which had a shutout streak of nearly 500 minutes finally broken in the NCAA Tournament. This year, Vega has started all nine games for the Eagles at right back as the club is on pace for a record-setting defensive year. For his career, Vega has started 40 of the 48 matches he’s appeared in, with one goal out of his defensive position.
#1 Nathan Ingham (Keswick, Ontario/Keswick HS)
A mainstay in net for the Eagles for parts of the past five seasons, Ingham is closing in on several A-Sun career records. As a freshman, he started each of the final eight games en route to A-Sun Tournament MVP honors. During his breakout sophomore season, Ingham started every game and recorded nine shutouts. He suffered a season-ending injury as a junior and utilized a redshirt season in 2013 before returning for another standout season as a redshirt junior last year. Ingham was named to the A-Sun First Team, A-Sun All-Tournament Team and was selected as the A-Sun Tournament MVP for the second time in his career after recording two shutouts in the championship. He was also named A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week twice as he tied his own program single-season record with nine shutouts – four more than anyone else in the A-Sun. He led the A-Sun in goals-against average (0.71), save percentage (.821) and saves (69). During the summer he was named Tournament MVP as his K-W United team won a PDL Championship. He has carried that momentum over into another brilliant season this year in his redshirt senior campaign.
Single-game tickets are available starting at just $7 for adults, $5 for youth (3-12) and $20 for a family pack. More information, including additional special discounts and group rates, can be accessed by logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/tickets or by clicking here. To purchase tickets, or for additional inquiries, call the FGCU Ticket Office at 239-590-7145 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
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 45 A-Sun All-Conference selections since FGCU started its program in 2007. In just four years of postseason eligibility, Butehorn has guided FGCU to three A-Sun Tournament championships and NCAA Tournament appearances – in 2011, 2012 and 2014 – and has won an unprecedented five-straight A-Sun regular-season championships. His teams have been ranked nationally on several occasions by multiple media outlets. Now in his 13th season as a head coach, Butehorn has a 112-89-25 (.551) overall record, 78-57-21 (.569) mark in his 9th season at FGCU and 46-17-6 (.713) record in A-Sun 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.