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Eagles Set to Host Embassy Suites Kick-Off Classic
Fort Myers, Fla.- The FGCU Eagles Men Soccer Team will be hosting the first Men’s Soccer tournament at FGCU’s Soccer Field this weekend. The Embassy Suites Kick-Off Classic kicks off Friday night with the Eagles taking on Navy at 7 p.m. On Sunday afternoon, the Eagles will face off against Illinois-Chicago at 1 p.m.
Series Information: First meeting(s).
Records: FGCU (3-2-0), Navy (2-1-1), Illinois-Chicago (2-1-1)
A Look At The Eagles
The FGCU men’s soccer team has a 3-2 overall record, returning from Boca Raton after playing in the Florida Atlantic Classic. With a loss against Iona and a victory over Georgia State, the team is ready for their first tournament at home. Coming home from the Florida Atlantic Tournament having managed to get a total of twenty shots off, the FGCU Eagles are in full swing for the Embassy Suites Kick-Off Classic. Freshman Jonathan Koshko (Tampa, Fla.) leads the Eagle offense with seven shots. Matthew O’Shaughnessy (Trinity, Fla.) and Chris DiNapoli (Palm Harbor, Fla.) are tied with two goals each. Tied with two assists each, Matthew Piccoli (Selden, NY) and Trent Anderson (Tampa, Fla.) lead the Eagles in assists.
A Survey of Navy and Illinois-Chicago
The Mids haven't played since a 3-1 loss to St. Francis (N.Y.) at the UMBC Soccer Classic on Sept. 9, and currently own a 2-1-1 record. The games will be the first in Florida for the Midshipmen since Nov. 14, 1998.. Andrew Garcia scored the tying goal during the second half, but St. Francis was able to score two more goals pulling themselves way ahead of the Navy soccer team.
Navy's 2-1-1 start can be attributed to a balanced offensive attack and a strong defense. The Mids have had four different players score four goals this year and have also allowed just four goals, with three coming in the loss to St. Francis (N.Y.). Navy posted back-to-back season-opening shutouts against Temple (T, 0-0) on Aug. 31 and Air Force (W, 1-0) on Sept. 2. The other contest was a 2-1 double-overtime thriller on Sept. 7 against Iona in the UMBC Soccer Classic.
Leading the offensive way for Navy is sophomore Mark Garcia (Tempe, Ariz.). The 5-7, 145-pound forward has scored three points (1 g, 1 a) on the young season, while classmate Andrew Garcia (Garland, Texas), junior Adam Pennington (Tampa, Fla.) and senior Travis King (Loveland, Ohio) have scored goals for head coach Rich Miranda this year. Sophomore Chris Schneider (Arlington, Texas) has dished out two assists on the season to lead the Mids in helpers. In all, seven players have found their way into the scoring column.
In goal for the Mids, senior Evan Barnes (Dublin, Ohio) has had a strong start to the year, owning a 2-1-1 record with a 0.91 GAA and a .750 save percentage with two shutouts. He was named Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week on Sept. 2, following a pair of shutouts against Temple and Air Force. He has led a defense that has been outstanding in terms of limiting opposing team's opporturnities. Opponents are averaging just 9.5 shots per game this year (with just 18 total shots on goal), one year after allowing 12.7 shots per game.
The Mids have also made a concentrated effort in limiting their fouls, and while this year's team is averaging 13.5 fouls per game compared to 15.6 a year ago, Navy has done a much better job of not fouling in dangerous situations. Barnes has gotten solid defensive help in the back from seniors Anthony Parker (Fredericksburg, Va.), Brett Copare (Pittsgrove, N.J.) and Will Riordon (Oak Ridge, N.C.) and sophomore Scott Robertson (Chester, Va.). Riordon was named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 5, after helping hold Temple and Air Force to just 16 total shots.
The University of Illinois at Chicago Flames are currently 2-1-1. The Flames began the season with a 3-1 win over Marquette in their home-opener on Sept. 2.
Cesar Zambrano converted a penalty kick early in the first period, and Dan Simek scored late in the second to seal the deal as the UIC men's soccer team downed Western Illinois, 2-0, at Flames Field on Sept. 18.
In a rematch of last year's NCAA Tournament first round game, UIC (2-1-1) dictated the pace throughout the first period, unleashing seven total shots and five attempts on target compared to just one for the Leathernecks (3-3-0).
In the 13th minute Baggio Husidic made a run deep into the left side of the box, where he was taken down by a Western Illinois back. A foul was called and UIC was awarded a penalty kick, which Zambrano easily converted for his first strike of the year.
With the opposing side increasing its pressure throughout the second period, UIC stood its ground and eventually put the game away in the 86th minute when Pavle Dundjer sent a ball to Simek, who used a nifty turn to create a one-on-one chance against Leatherneck keeper Charlie Sales that was won by the Flames' forward.
The Flames finished the game with a 14-2 shot advantage.