@FGCU_MSoccer Begins Title Defense with Semifinal Match vs. UNF
Thursday, November 14, 2013 | by Matt Moretti III (@Moretts13)
Photo: Linwood Ferguson
Photo: Linwood Ferguson
#5 North Florida (8-6-3,2-4-2 A-Sun)
#1 FGCU (8-7-2,6-1-1 A-Sun)
11/15/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 476
North Florida022
UNF53:12CAMEJO, Luis Daniel (MORRELL, Alex )
FGCU83:47PENAGOS, Henry (WILKS, Skylar )
FGCUGEORGE, Danny90:0020
Stats at a GlanceUNFFGCU
Shots (on Goal)6 (2)11 (2)
Corner Kicks14
Yellow Cards15
Red Cards03

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The defending champion and top-seeded FGCU men’s soccer team (8-6-2, 6-1-1 Atlantic Sun) will take the field this Friday at 7 p.m. to battle fifth-seeded North Florida (7-6-3, 2-4-2 A-Sun). The two teams will face of for the right to play in the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Osprey’s notched a historic win over Mercer in the quarterfinals. North Florida, who has been an A-Sun member since 2005, reached the semifinals for the first time in program history. This year marks only the second season the Ospreys have qualified for the conference tournament. In 2009, UNF entered as the No. 4 seed and dropped a 3-0 result at the hands of the fifth-seeded Mercer. 

After claiming an unparalleled fourth-straight regular-season A-Sun title – something that had never been done in A-Sun history – FGCU is looking to claim its third-straight conference tournament championship. 

North Florida and FGCU match up two of the youngest teams in the conference. North Florida has only one Senior on the roster, in addition to graduated keeper Brad Sienkiewicz. The Ospreys have an extremely young attack, with their top three scorers all sophomores.

The Green and Blue boast a similar if not more youthful and skilled team. Behind their young offense, the Eagles have dominated the league scoring race all year, averaging over 1.25 points more than the next conference team. To put their dominance into perspective, FGCU accounted for 72 points in 16 games played. Northern Kentucky, the next highest scoring offense, has played in three more games and has recorded 63 points. The Green and Blue have done this without a senior on the roster. Some key young players include redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Danny George (Safety Harbor, Fla./Countryside High School), Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year Isaiah Madrid (Albuquerque, N.M./El Dorado HS) and FGCU leading scorer, sophomore, Felipe DeSousa (Tampa, Fla./Wharton HS).

After another stellar regular season, the Green and Blue can boast seven players who earned Atlantic Sun Conference honors for the 2013 season. Three Eagles were chosen for the A-Sun First Team, two were selected for Second Team Honors and two more landed on the All-Freshman Team. DeSousa and Madrid highlight the group, as they were both unanimous selections to their respective teams. Click here to read about each player’s vital contributions.

The Ospreys had three members of their squad selected for Conference Team Honors. Second leading scorer Alex Morell was voted onto the A-Sun Second Team and stand out freshmen Jay Bolt and Niklas Schuessler both made it onto the All-Freshman Team.

FGCU enters the Conference Tournament having yet to drop a result in this event.  Much of their dominance in the playoffs can be attributed to their strong play at home. The Green and Blue hold a 4-0 all-time A-Sun tournament record, with all four of those matches being played at the FGCU Soccer Complex. The Eagles have now gone unbeaten in 25 straight home matches against A-Sun members. That stretch spans more than five years, dating back to a 2-0 setback against Jacksonville on Oct. 19, 2008.

In seven matches between FGCU and UNF, the Eagles have won all seven, most by a large margin. Since 2007, the Green and Blue have outscored the Ospreys by an impressive 25-3. Last year, FGCU defeated North Florida at The Nest, 2-0. The two teams will be playing each other in the conference tournament for the first time.

The Ospreys soared past the Bears on Wednesday evening on the power of Pedro Carneiro’s penalty kick in the 31st minute. North Florida finished the match with a 13-12 shot advantage en route to the team’s first postseason victory. The Ospreys spread the points around this season, receiving goals from 11 different players. North Florida’s diverse offense helped them finish the season ranked in the top three in points per game, goals, and goals per game among postseason eligible teams. Jean Rivaroli led the Ospreys in points this season with four goals and two assists for a total of 10 points, good enough to tie for seventh in the conference. Alex Morrell, in three less games than leading scorer Rivaroli, has netted two goals and three assists.

Any student of an A-Sun institution will be admitted for free with a valid university I.D. FGCU faculty and staff will be admitted for free as well. Youth ages 14 and under will be admitted for free if they are wearing a soccer jersey or green or blue. Youth tickets will cost $3 while adult tickets will be $6.