CHICAGO, Ill. (September 9, 2012) – The FIU men’s soccer team (5-0-0) is off to their best start to a season in 25 years after a two-goal performance from sophomore Colby Burdette lifts FIU to a 2-1 overtime victory at Illinois-Chicago.
The last time the Panthers started a season 5-0-0 was in 1987, FIU’s first year of Division I athletics. FIU’s five victories also match its season total from a season ago.
“We really had to grind this one out and I’m really proud of our team,” Head Coach Kenny Arena said. “It’s early in the year, so there are valuable lessons to be learned from a game like this. Winning tough road matches like this can only make us better, but we still have a ways to go.”
After a defensive battle up until the 31st minute, UIC’s Ned Pavlovich struck first when he took a through ball, beating FIU keeper Robin Spiegel to the far post on the counter. The goal was only the third given up by the freshman netminder in five matches.
After going into the half down a goal for only the second time this season, the resilient Panthers answered 11:28 into the second stanza. Burdette beat the Flames keeper, Piotr Kikolski to the far post after fielding a nice pass from freshman Lyle Lindquist – freshman Daniel Gonzalez was also credited with an assist on the play.
The Panthers and the Flames exchanged chances throughout the second half but neither team could find the back of the net, sending the match into overtime. With 3:52 remaining in overtime, Burdette tallied the game-winner, playing a ball from freshman Patrick Ramdial and sophomore Roberto De Sousa, floating the ball over Kikolski's head for the golden goal. Burdette’s two goals matched a career-high set on Oct. 22, 2011 at South Carolina.
The victory keeps the Panthers atop the Conference USA standings, with Marshall University (4-0-1) the only other unbeaten team in the conference. FIU continues to share the ball this season, adding eight assists over the weekend to bring its league-leading total to 17. The Panthers also lead C-USA in points (37) and are second in shots (72), goals (10) and GAA (0.59).
FIU men’s soccer finishes a five-match road swing on Friday, Sept. 14, when it takes on the Furman Paladins in Ft. Myers, Fla. at 5:00 p.m. ET. The Panthers then return to FIU Soccer Stadium for a Sunday, Sept. 16 match against the UMKC Kangaroos at 7:00 p.m. ET.
For tickets to FIU home matches, call the FIU Ticket Office at 305-FIU-GAME or log onto www.FIUSports.com. Fans can follow @FIUMensSoccer on Twitter and find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FIUMensSoccer. Fans can also watch all FIU men’s soccer home matches live on FIUSports.com on our free webcasts.
About FIU Athletics: FIU Athletics is home to more than 400 student-athletes in 18 different sports. Athletic events are played in seven different venues on FIU's campuses (Modesto A. Maidique and Biscayne Bay), including U.S. Century Bank Arena and Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium.
About FIU: Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its colleges and schools offer more than 180 bachelors, masters and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU is worlds ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission and enrolls nearly 48,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. More than 140,000 alumni live and work in South Florida. For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/.
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