FGCU Draws USF in First Round of NCAA Tournament on Thursday
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The two-time defending Atlantic Sun Champion FGCU men’s soccer team will stay in-state for the second straight year for the first round of the NCAA Tournament, as it will head to USF on Thursday, Nov. 15, announced on Monday night during the NCAA Selection Show on NCAA.com.
The Eagles (11-5-2), who earned the A-Sun’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament on Sunday for the second straight year, learned of their first round destination during their Selection Show party held at Naples Flatbread at Miromar Outlets.
Thursday’s meeting will be the second this season and the fifth all-time between the two clubs. Then No. 13 USF got the best of FGCU in Tampa, 3-0, on Sept. 25 in the Green and Blue’s non-conference finale. It will also be the Green and Blue’s fourth game at USF’s Corbett Stadium this year, as they defeated Conference USA foe South Carolina (3-0) and Iona (2-0) at the USF Tournament.
FGCU is the only current A-Sun team to win back-to-back championships, doing so in its first two years of postseason eligibility. The Eagles current eight-game win streak is the third longest in the nation behind Akron (14) and Creighton (10), and is tied for the longest in program history.
Sunday’s game-winning goal in the 95th minute was the second in the last three games for Santiago Echeverri’s (Kissimmee, Fla./Celebration HS), who was named the A-Sun Championship MVP. In last Saturday’s showdown in Macon, Ga. against Mercer that decided the regular season champ and host of the tournament, Echeverri struck in the 52nd-minute with his first career game-winner in the 1-0 victory. Sunday’s 1-0 win in the championship was FGCU’s seventh shutout during its current eight-game win streak.
Although it didn’t qualify for the BIG EAST Tournament, USF (8-5-4, 2-3-3 BIG EAST) had the 24th toughest schedule in the nation this year, and finished with an RPI of 25. Five of the Bulls' last eight matches were against opponents whose RPI was in the top 43 in the country. In total, USF played nine of the top 43 teams in RPI and finished with a record of 4-3-2 in those contests.
Thursday’s contest will be USF’s first official game since it lost at DePaul on Oct. 26. To keep themselves ready for a possible NCAA Tournament at-large berth, the Bulls held an exhibition match against the U-17 U.S. National Team last Friday, defeating the team full of young stars, 2-0.
More information regarding a gametime, tickets and live video/audio will be available on www.FGCUATHLETICS.com by Tuesday evening. For all up-to-date information on FGCU men’s soccer, follow the team on twitter @FGCU_MSoccer.
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