FORT MYERS, Fla. – A day removed from winning its first-ever Atlantic Sun Conference Championship, the FGCU men’s soccer gathered at Naples Flatbread on Monday amongst family, friends and media to learn of its NCAA Tournament foe. The NCAA announced that the Eagles will travel to Orlando, Fla. to face UCF on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at the UCF Soccer Complex.
FGCU and UCF will be facing each other for the second time this season after the Green and Blue defeated the Knights, 2-1, back on Sept. 24. The winner of the first round matchup will face seventh-seeded USF on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. in Tampa, Fla.
“We have worked really hard to get here and it is a really proud moment for our guys to see our team in the NCAA tournament,” said A-Sun Coach of the Year Bob Butehorn. “I think it will be a completely different environment and a different team when we play UCF on Thursday. The team is excited about this matchup."
The Eagles became the second FGCU team in as many weeks to reach the NCAA tournament since becoming postseason eligible back on August 12. Just a week ago, the women’s program won the A-Sun Tournament title as the No. 1 seed, marking just the fourth time in A-Sun history both a men’s and women’s team from the same school have won the postseason tournament.
The Green and Blue will enter the NCAA Tournament having won six of their last seven games thanks to an outstanding cross by senior Francesco DiStefano (Kissimmee, Fla./Osceola HS) to classmate Scott Harrison’s (Cocoa, Fla./Merritt Island HS) for the golden goal at the 88:40 mark in the championship match against reigning A-Sun Tournament winner and host ETSU.
FGCU’s win marked the first time since 2004 that the No. 1 seed has won the A-Sun Men’s Soccer Tournament. Postseason eligible for the first time this season, FGCU (12-5-2) entered the A-Sun Tournament as the No. 1 seed after winning the regular season and went on to a pair of one-goal victories against fourth-seeded Mercer (2-1) and sixth-seeded ETSU (1-0) to earn the league’s automatic NCAA berth in just the fifth year of the program.
Tickets for the contest against the Knights will go on sale Tuesday morning at UCFAthletics.com and all Ticketmaster outlets. NCAA.com will have live stats, live video and audio of the game for the fans to enjoy.
Fans are encouraged to stay tuned to www.FGCUAthletics.com for updates on Thursday’s game in Orlando and the 2011 NCAA tournament.