FORT MYERS, Fla. – Riding a six-game winning streak, the FGCU men’s soccer team (6-5-1, 4-0 Atlantic Sun Conference) welcomes Mercer (3-10, 1-2 A-Sun) to the FGCU Soccer Complex for its annual Coaches vs. Cancer game Thursday night at 7 as the Eagles look to remain atop the league standings.
HELP US FIND A CURE
With the purchase of a $10 “FGCU Supports The Cure” T-shirt, fans will receive a commemorative rally towel. All proceeds go to benefit the American Cancer Society, and the first 100 Dirty Birds in attendance will be given rally towels. The game will be streamed free of charge via ASun.TV, with live stats on FGCUAthletics.com and in-game progress and photo updates available on Twitter by following @FGCU_MSoccer.
With a win, FGCU would claim its seventh straight victory, moving within one triumph of the all-time program regular-season record for consecutive wins (eight) set by the 2010 squad. Over the past five games, the Eagles have only allowed one goal, tying the regular-season program record for fewest goals allowed over a five-match period. That honor also belongs to the 2010 club, which orchestrated such a streak at the beginning of the conference slate.
The Eagles are the only team in the A-Sun with double-digit points (12) and are three points clear of both ETSU and Lipscomb in the league standings. FGCU defeated ETSU in overtime last Friday night, 2-1, and also claimed a 1-0 victory opposite Lipscomb in the conference opener. FGCU is looking to become the seventh team in A-Sun history to post a perfect conference record. The Eagles were the last team to go undefeated in league play, marching through the 2010 docket with a flawless 9-0 mark.
SETTING THE STAGE
Mercer enters the match on a three-game losing streak and has dropped six straight meetings to FGCU, dating back to the 2008 season. The Eagles have eliminated the Bears from the A-Sun Championship each of the past two years, including a 1-0 victory in the title game at the FGCU Soccer Complex last November.
FGCU – which has the best RPI of any A-Sun member at No. 59 – is ranked either first or second in the league in nine different key statistical categories, with eight of them being of the offensive variety. That offense will be tested, however, against Mercer keeper Greg Ranjitsingh as the junior leads the conference in total saves (61) and ranks second in saves per game (4.69).
FGCU has not lost an A-Sun game at the FGCU Soccer Complex in nearly five years – a staggering 1,823 days without a loss on home soil to a league foe, dating back to a 2-0 setback to Jacksonville on Oct. 19, 2008. Including last year’s A-Sun Championship – which the Green and Blue hosted – it is unbeaten in its last 23 contests, including a 21-game winning streak, versus current or former league members (Belmont, Campbell).
In that 21-game winning streak, the Eagles have out-scored their opponents by an emphatic 52-7 total and have not allowed more than one goal in any game. In fact, the last A-Sun team to even score a goal at The Nest during the regular season was Jacksonville on Oct. 27, 2011 – a stretch of six consecutive shutouts.
FGCU is now 26-2-1 in regular-season A-Sun play since the beginning of the 2010 campaign. In that span, 87 possible points could have been earned, and FGCU has claimed a staggering 79 of them (90.1 percent). The Eagles’ 26 wins in four league seasons is second-most in A-Sun history behind the FGCU team from 2009-12, which won 28 games.
After losing their first three overtime games of the year, the Eagles have won each of the past three to move their record to 3-3 in their six OT contests to this point. The six overtime games are already tied for the most in program history (2012), but two of those extra-session contests took place in the postseason.
The Eagles failed to win a game through their first six contests, but have since swept each of their past three weekend series. Through the first six games of the season, FGCU was out-scored 19-10, but during the course of the winning streak the Eagles have controlled the pace of play at both ends of the pitch, out-scoring their opponents, 11-3.
Goalkeeper Danny George (Safety Harbor, Fla./Countryside HS) earned his sixth straight win between the pipes and fourth shutout in that timeframe on Sunday at USC Upstate, 3-0. The three-goal win was also the largest margin of victory by the Green and Blue this year.
ODDS & ENDS
FGCU is receiving votes in this week’s NSCAA South Region Poll … for the third consecutive week the Eagles can boast the A-Sun Player of the Week or Co-Player of the Week as freshman Isaiah Madrid (Albuquerque, N.M./El Dorado HS) earned the latter distinction from league officials on Monday … despite playing in only nine games, sophomore Felipe DeSousa (Tampa, Fla./Wharton HS) continues to lead the team with 11 points … with still four regular-season games remaining, Madrid (37 shots) is just seven shot attempts shy of breaking the single-season program record in that category.
After playing more than one game every week of the season since the opening weekend of the year, FGCU will now play just three games over the final three weeks of the regular season, beginning with a match at Stetson next Saturday, Oct. 26. The Eagles will then play each of the following two Saturdays with its final home regular-season match to be contested at 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 versus Jacksonville.
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.