FORT MYERS, Fla. – On the eve of the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Sun Tournament, FGCU men’s soccer saw six different players earn postseason honors from the league office on Tuesday, highlighted by forward Felipe DeSousa (Vila Velha, Brazil/Wharton HS-FL) being named the A-Sun Freshman of the Year.
DeSousa’s A-Sun Freshman of the Year honor marks the second straight year an FGCU newcomer has earned the award, as Xavier Silva (Boca Raton, Fla./North Broward Prep) garnered the accolade in 2011. The club’s leading scorer, DeSousa was also named to the All-Conference first team and All-Freshmen squad. He was the only freshman on the either the All-Conference first or second team.
Sophomore defender Federico Crespo (Heredia, Costa Rico/St. Paul College/Universidad Latina) and classmate midfielder Henry Penagos (Margate, Fla./American Heritage School of Boca/Delray) garnered All-Conference second team accolades, putting the Green and Blue’s All-Conference first or second team honorees total at 13 over its current three-year run as A-Sun regular season champs.
A quartet of first-year players consisting of DeSousa, Aaron Guillen (Chihuahua, Mexico/Coronado HS-Texas), Rodrigo Saravia (Guatemala City, Guatemala/College Internacional Montessori) and Daniel Stanese (Pitt Meadows, British Columbia/Pitt Meadows Secondary) were part of the All-Freshmen squad. FGCU’s four players on the A-Sun All-Freshmen team equal the most by one team in league history since the squad was added to the postseason honors in 2001. Mercer previously owned the record by itself when it landed four on the All-Freshmen team in 2002.
DeSousa has been FGCU’s biggest offensive threat this season, leading the team with six goals and 13 points. Highlighting DeSousa’s six goals over 12 games played, which rank tied for third in the A-Sun, are a league-leading four game-winners. The Vila Velha, Brazil native became just the second player in program history to score a goal in three straight games, which all happened to be game-winners against A-Sun foes USC Upstate, North Florida and at Jacksonville. After his two-goal performance at JU, DeSousa was named the A-Sun Player of the Week.
An A-Sun All-Freshmen team selection a year ago and preseason All-Conference choice this fall, Crespo has started all 16 games at left back on a defense that is tied for the A-Sun lead with seven shutouts. The team’s free kick specialist, Crespo is tied for second on the squad with three assists, including a pair on game-winning goals at home against UNF and Stetson.
After missing the 2011 campaign due to injury, Penagos has turned in a breakout redshirt sophomore campaign, sitting in a tie for second on the team with three goals. Out of his seven points on the year, Penagos produced two goals and an assist in A-Sun action. Both of his goals in A-Sun play came on the road at Northern Kentucky and Jacksonville.
The duo of Guillen and Stanese serve as the final line of defense before keeper Nathan Ingham on an FGCU defense that posted five shutouts during its six-game A-Sun win streak to close the year. Both of Guillen’s assists have come on game-winning goals in A-Sun play against USC Upstate and at Jacksonville. Stanese also has two points this season from the backline, scoring a goal during a 2-2 draw against UCF. Guillen has played in all 16 games, missing just one half of action, while Stanese has played every minute in his 15 games.
Saravia joins Crespo as the only other field player to start all 16 games, providing stability on both ends of the field at the center midfield position. The Guatemala City product’s lone goal of the year was the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over USC Upstate and he has also added a pair of assists. Saravia has also been a big part of FGCU’s league-best seven shutouts.
FGCU (9-5-2, 6-1-1 A-Sun) is just the second team to win three straight A-Sun regular season crowns since the league moved out of divisions in 1998. Oddly enough, Mercer was the last team to accomplish the feat from 2000-02. Over the Green and Blue’s current three-year run, they are 22-2-1 in the A-Sun. The Eagles will play host to the 2012 A-Sun Tournament beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 7 with a pair of quarterfinal matches. Receiving a bye into Friday night’s semifinals due to being a top two seed, top-seeded FGCU will play the winner of fourth-seeded USC Upstate and fifth-seeded Lipscomb at 7 p.m. on Nov. 9.