FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU men’s soccer team is set to make its second trip to Johnson City, Tenn. this season, this time competing in its first-ever postseason contest at the 2011 Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. After clinching its second consecutive regular season crown and a first round bye as the tournament No. 1 seed, the Eagles are set to take on No. 4 seed Mercer in the semifinal matchup on Friday at 4 p.m. at ETSU’s Summers-Taylor Stadium.
Under the direction of the A-Sun Coach of the Year Bob Butehorn, the Green and Blue ended the regular season with a 10-5-2 overall record and topped the league standings with a 7-1 mark. With an unblemished 9-0 record in A-Sun play last year, the Eagles have now gone 16-1 in the league over the past two seasons and hold an all-time mark of 28-14-2. Following a four-year NCAA Division I reclassification period, FGCU is postseason eligible for the first time in program history this season.
FGCU’s offensive attack is led by a pair senior midfield captains Cristian Raudales (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee HS) and Josey Portillo (Metairie, La./Grace King HS), who each hold 13 points. An A-Sun first team selection, Raudales has a team-best six goals, including four in A-Sun play in addition to his lone assist this season. Meanwhile, A-Sun second teamer Portillo has netted three goals this season while accumulating a program single-season record seven assists. The duo also sit atop the FGCU career record book, as Raudales is FGCU’s all-time points leader with 41 on a program-best 18 goals and five assists, while Portillo’s 15 career assists also top the statistical category.
A-Sun Freshman of the Year Xavier Silva (Boca Raton, Fla./North Broward Prep) has also been strong this season at forward for the Green and Blue, sitting second on the team with 12 points on five goals, including three game-winners, and a pair of assists. Additionally, juniors Andres Navas (Miami, Fla./Sunset Senior HS/FIU) and William Morse (Sugar Land, Texas/Clements HS) have also reach the double-digit point plateau this season. Each holding 10 points, Navas has recorded four goals, including two game-winners, and a pair of assists, while Morse has a pair of goals and six assists, which ranks second on the team.
One of 10 national finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and an A-Sun first team selection, redshirt senior goalkeeper Adam Glick (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley HS) has played 1123:19 minutes in net this season for the Eagles, totaling 44 saves while allowing 14 goals. His 1.12 goals against average currently ranks third in the A-Sun, while the .759 save percentage is also good for fourth in the league. Glick picked up his 32nd career victory with the 1-0 shutout over USC Upstate (Oct. 14) and, with three shutouts this season, the netminder sits third in A-Sun history with 19 and sits four away from the record set by Jeff Cassar of FIU (1992-95). Freshman keeper Nathan Ingham (Ontario, Canada/Keswick HS) has made the last five starts in goal for the Eagles, compiling a 4-1 record while allowing seven goals for a 1.39 goals against average and sending away 17 shots on goal.
In the A-Sun opening quarterfinal round on Wednesday, No. 4 seed Mercer defeated No. 5 seed Lipscomb to advance to the semifinal matchup with the Eagles. After falling behind 1-0 in the first half on a goal by Lipscomb forward Garrett Pettis, the Bears used a pair of unanswered second half goals over a six-minute span, including the game-winner in the 82nd off the foot of midfielder Ryan King, to earn the 2-1 victory. Forward Richie Edmondson provided the equalizer for the Bears in the 76th minute of play, for his first goal of the year.
During the regular season meeting with Mercer at the FGCU Soccer Complex, Raudales leveled the game in the second half and struck again in the 94th minute of overtime to give then-No. 25 FGCU a thrilling 2-1 victory, while playing a man down. With the win, the Eagles were able to extend their A-Sun home unbeaten streak to 12 games (11-0-1) dating back to 2008, as well as, their A-Sun winning streak to 11 contests. The all-time series between FGCU and Mercer sits in favor of the Green and Blue at 4-1, with the Eagles also holding a two-goal (9-7) advantage over the Bears.
Mercer (9-7-3, 4-3-2 A-Sun) is led offensively by midfielder Will Betts’ 12 points, coming off of five goals and two assists. Defenseman Josh Shutter also holds 10 points on three goals and four assists, while Ehjayson Henry and King each have four goals this season. Freshman goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh has played every game in net for the Bears, totaling 62 saves for a save percentage of .747 while allowing 21 goals for a goals against average of 1.06.
The other A-Sun opening round contest slated third-seeded Jacksonville against the sixth-seeded ETSU on Wednesday. ETSU midfielder David Haba netted his first two goals of the season to push the Bucs past the Dolphins, 2-0, and into the semifinal matchup with second-seeded Stetson. The contest between ETSU (10-6-3, 4-4-1 A-Sun) and Stetson (10-5-3, 6-1-1 A-Sun) is set for Friday at 7 p.m.
Each game of the 2011 Atlantic Sun Conference Championship will be streamed online for free via ASun.TV. Live stats, live video (www.ASun.tv), in-game Twitter updates (@FGCUMensSoccer and @FGCUEagles), results and recaps from the 2011 Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.