Florida Gulf Coast
10/26/2013 | DeLand, Fla. | Attendance: 352
|Florida Gulf Coast||1||0||1|
, WILKS, Skylar)
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||STET|
|Shots (on Goal)||12 (5)||6 (3)|
DELAND, Fla. – With Atlantic Sun Conference play nearing its end, the FGCU men’s soccer team (6-5-2, 4-0-1 A-Sun) and Stetson (2-8-3, 1-3-1 A-Sun) will battle on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. A win for the Eagles would solidify their position atop the A-Sun standings, while Stetson will be aiming to break out of what is currently a three-way tie for the sixth and final postseason position.
While FGCU and Stetson have yet to play this year, they are both coming off matches against conference rival Mercer. The Eagles and Bears played to a 0-0 double-overtime draw last Thursday, Oct. 17, in a game which saw both goalkeepers make key saves to preserve the contest. The Hatters, meanwhile, defeated the Georgia-based school in a 1-0 tilt that marked Stetson’s first conference victory of the year.
No one in the A-Sun has been hotter than FGCU in recent weeks. The Eagles enter Saturday’s road contest with a seven-game unbeaten streak, their second longest in a single season in program history. The 2010 Eagles hold the record with a 10-game unbeaten streak, including eight consecutive wins during that stretch. This year’s team has displayed a similar dominance by shutting out five of its past six opponents, only allowing one goal over that span.
While the Eagles have been hitting their stride, Stetson has been skidding. The Hatters went 0-8-3 after their home-opening victory on Aug. 23 against UMass-Lowell, and prior to their 1-0 victory versus Mercer had been held without a goal in three consecutive games. Having been outshot in 10 of its last 13 games, the Stetson offense will face a stern test against an FGCU backline that has matured drastically over the past month.
While Stetson overshadowed FGCU in the programs’ early seasons, the tables have turned in recent years. The Green and Blue has won its last three contests against Stetson to improve its all-time record against the Hatters to 3-3. Last season in their lone matchup the Eagles claimed a 2-0 victory. The two teams have never faced each other in the conference tournament, but that could change this year as Stetson is vying for its first playoff berth since the 2010-11 season.
SETTING THE TABLE
Following its match with Stetson, FGCU only has two matches remaining before the conference tournament. With a win Saturday the Eagles would move within one victory of clinching the top spot. FGCU is aiming to snatch the first seed for the third year in a row as the Eagles have claimed the No. 1 seed every year they have been postseason eligible.
FGCU is currently in first place with 13 points, one more than ETSU (12); however, ETSU has already played six A-Sun games compared with five for FGCU, and the Eagles own a win over the Buccaneers. Even if ETSU wins its final two games, it can only get to 18 points while two FGCU wins in its final three games gives the Eagles 19 points. Northern Kentucky currently has 10 points on the strength of a 3-1-1 record and could catch the Eagles if FGCU only won two of its remaining three games, but the Norse are ineligible for the A-Sun Championship due to a Division-I reclassification period.
ODDS & ENDS
FGCU leads the conference with 21 goals – three more than any other team … the Eagles are averaging a league-leading 13.77 shots per game … FGCU enters Saturday averaging 4.31 points per game, nearly an entire point more than its closest competitor … sophomore keeper Danny George (Safety Harbor, Fla./Countryside HS) made a career-high eight saves against Mercer en route to his fifth shutout in six games … classmate Felipe DeSousa (Tampa, Fla./Wharton HS) continues to lead the Eagles with five goals and 11 points.
The Eagles have become a conference power in recent years, recording a dominant A-Sun regular-season record of 26-2-2 since the start of the 2010 campaign, and both of the losses came on the road. Out of a possible 90 points that could have been earned since 2010, FGCU has swiped an astounding 80 of them (88.9 percent). The Blue and Green have not lost to an A-Sun opponent in 13 consecutive matches.
Following its trip to Stetson, FGCU welcomes Jacksonville to The Nest for its final home game of the regular season Saturday, Nov. 2. A Nov. 9 game at North Florida will be the Eagles final regular-season game and will serve as the last tune-up for the conference tournament beginning the following week.
2013-14 men’s soccer tickets are available by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets. Single-game tickets can be purchased for $6 per adult and $3 for youth. Groups of 10+ can receive a discounted rate of $3 per person. FGCU students and faculty/staff are admitted for free with a valid University ID.