FORT MYERS, Fla. – On the strength of a perfectly-executed 26th-minute heel flick goal by redshirt junior Henry Penagos and a second consecutive shutout in net by Danny George, the FGCU men’s soccer team (3-5-1, 1-0 Atlantic Sun Conference) won its third straight game and began its A-Sun title defense with a 1-0 win over Lipscomb (4-5-1, 0-1 A-Sun) Friday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
The strike was Penagos’s (Margate, Fla./American Heritage School of Boca) third goal of the campaign and first career game-winner. As for George (Safety Harbor, Fla./Countryside HS), the sophomore earned consecutive 1-0 victories for the first time in his career.
“In the first half I thought we had pretty good control of the game, had some great chances and I thought we deserved one of them, at least,” head coach Bob Butehorn said. “Lipscomb played well and they really pushed the game on us in the second half. They pressed us a little bit and we got a little flat, but it was a good result.”
“Any time you can win your first conference game of the year it’s a good thing,” Butehorn continued. “They’re always tough battles – it doesn’t matter if it’s home or away. You want to get off to a good start and we did that tonight."
After persistent pressure through the first 20 minutes of the match, FGCU took the lead on a great heel flick by Penagos on a secondary effort off a corner. After the Eagles’ corner by junior Skylar Wilks (Tampa, Fla./Newsom HS) was cleared back out to the right flank, the Green and Blue countered.
Sophomore David Robledo (Dallas, Texas/Hillcrest HS) corralled the ball and shoveled a pass back to Wilks, who sent a perfect left-footed cross into the middle of the box. From there, Penagos, with his back facing away from the net, flicked the ball first-touch inside the left netting.
At one point in the first half FGCU had a 5-1 edge in shots, but Lipscomb began to tilt the pitch back in its favor. After the Eagles goal, Lipscomb had the final three shots of the opening stanza and by the end of the first 45 minutes the two clubs were tied in shots, 6-6.
The Green and Blue began the second half by attempting two corners in the first nine minutes, but both were snuffed out by the Bisons backline. Lipscomb had a few good looks go awry in the early stages of the second half, but it was enough to begin to tightly condense the FGCU defense.
With Lipscomb unable to get good looks in the box the Bisons began to settle for long-range efforts, and any good service from the Nashville-based school was rejected by the Eagles, who have now not allowed a goal in 210 minutes.
However, that streak almost didn’t occur as Lipscomb had a flurry of activity in front of the FGCU net with about 10 minutes remaining, attempting three shots and a corner within a one-minute span. The first two efforts were pushed aside by George. Then, following a scramble off the corner, a Lipscomb shot rang off the underside of the crossbar before being cleared out the Eagles.
For the night, seven yellow cards were issued – five to FGCU and two to Lipscomb. George made four stops in net, his most since the Eagles’ last home game on Sept. 14 against Wisconsin. The Bisons out-shot FGCU, 15-9, but each team put four of those on frame.
The victory also continues FGCU’s dominance of the A-Sun as the Eagles have now run their conference record to 23-2-2 since the start of the 2010 season. In that span, 78 possible points could have been earned during the regular season, and FGCU has claimed a staggering 70 of them (89.7 percent).
FGCU returns to action as it completes its conference-opening weekend by playing host to Northern Kentucky on Sunday. The Eagles and the Norse are set to kick off from The Nest at 1 p.m., and once again the game will be streamed for free on ASun.TV with live stats available through FGCUAthletics.com and Twitter updates on @FGCU_MSoccer.
2013-14 men’s soccer tickets are available by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets. Single-game tickets can 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.