Short-Handed Eagles Down Belmont, 3-1
|Florida Gulf Coast||2||1||3|
|FGCU||2:30||ANTE, Kevin (SILVA, Xavier , JONES, Deion)|
|BEL||11:54||MIRANDA, Pedro (FIGUEROA, Diego )|
|FGCU||17:06||SILVA, Xavier (NAVAS, Andres , DiSTEFANO, Francesco)|
|FGCU||78:12||SARRIS, Yianni (PATTERSON, Nick , INGHAM, Nathan)|
|Stats at a Glance||BEL||FGCU|
|Shots (on Goal)||14 (7)||15 (7)|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – For the third time this season a red card in the first half put the FGCU men’s soccer team down a man for the majority of the 90 minutes. And for third time, the Eagles earned a positive result, defeating Atlantic Sun foe Belmont, 3-1, while playing the final 78 minutes with just 10 players on Sunday during Senior Day at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
FGCU led 1-0 when a red card forced it to play with 10 players starting in the 12th minute, but overcame the equalizing goal by the Bruins with tallies from freshmen Xavier Silva (Boca Raton, Fla./North Broward Prep) and Yianni Sarris (Mentor, Ohio/Cleveland Saint Ignatius HS). The Eagles have been remarkable this season while playing a man down, scoring five goals while going 2-0-1 in the three games.
The Green and Blue’s heroics move their overall record to 8-4-2 and, more importantly, 5-1 in the conference for 15 points. The Eagles sit just one point back of Jacksonville (5-0-1) for first place, setting up a huge showdown in Southwest Florida on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. between the A-Sun’s top two teams in the standings.
“We were pleased with the effort today playing a man down. Unfortunately, it had to happen early in the game,” said fifth-year head coach Bob Butehorn. “We responded well and I’m glad we were able to come away with the win for our seniors. When playing a man down your effort really has to come from determination and you can’t get deterred by what’s in front of you. We were able to respond immediately with a good goal by Xavier (Silva), and I am happy that we got the result we did this afternoon under tough conditions.”
Following an emotional senior ceremony that showcased FGCU’s nine-member class, the Eagles wasted little time giving the seniors’ large contingent of family and friends something to cheer about with a goal in the third minute. Fittingly, it was senior Kevin Ante (Miami, Fla./Varela HS) who got the home team on the board with his first career goal, putting home a rebound during a corner. Junior Deion Jones (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS) picked up the first assist on the serve into the box, while Silva’s header off the post accounted for the other assist.
A trip in the midfield at the 11:44 mark resulted in a red card issued to FGCU’s Jeremy Vollmer (Carmel, Ind./Westfield HS), putting the Eagles down a man for the final 78 minutes. The Bruins immediately capitalized with a goal just 10 seconds later on a deflected shot by Belmont’s Pedro Miranda that equaled the score at 1-1.
Despite being a man down, the Eagles were able to sustain pressure on the offensive end, breaking through again at the 17:06 mark when junior Andres Navas (Miami, Fla./Sunset Senior HS) found Silva on a cross from the right that was headed into the lower left corner of the net. The goal was Silva’s third in 10 games played.
The 2-1 lead held up until halftime and several sprawling saves from freshman goalkeeper Nathan Ingham (Ontario, Canada/Keswick HS) helped keep the momentum on FGCU’s side.
Ingham not only made six saves in the game, but actually got the Eagles rolling on their third goal with a long pass over the midfield line to sophomore Nick Patterson (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake HS). Patterson flicked the pass over the right defender to a streaking Sarris who beat Belmont goalie Lou Manning with a shot to the low left corner from just outside the goal box. Both Patterson and Ingham were credited with an assist on the insurance goal that gave FGCU a 3-1 lead in the 79th minute.
Both the final shot count, 15-14, and the corner kick battle, 6-3, belonged to the Eagles. Ingham’s assist is the first point ever recorded by a goalkeeper in FGCU history.
FGCU will carry a 14-game (13-0-1) home unbeaten streak into Thursday’s game against Jacksonville. Both teams have already clinched a spot in the Atlantic Sun Tournament, but will attempt to position themselves for the league regular season title and a potential quarterfinal bye.
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