FGCU Advances to A-Sun Title Game With Thrilling 2-1 Win Over Lipscomb
|FGCU||102:55||DeSOUSA, Felipe (ECHEVERRI, Santiago )|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||FGCU|
|Shots (on Goal)||8 (3)||11 (5)|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year Felipe DeSousa (Vila Velha, Brazil/Wharton HS-FL) scored the game-winning goal in the 103rd-minute of double-overtime to send the top-seeded and host FGCU men’s soccer team to the A-Sun Championship game for the second-straight year in thrilling 2-1 win over fifth-seeded Lipscomb on Friday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
DeSousa’s goal was not only his A-Sun-leading fifth game-winner, but also moved the Vila Velha, Brazil native into a tie for the program single-season record with seven goals. FGCU has now won 18 straight games at home against A-Sun opponents.
In a rematch of last weekend’s showdown that determined the A-Sun regular season champ, the Eagles will square off against second-seeded Mercer in Sunday’s championship game that will determine who gets the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Kick-off is slated for 1 p.m.
Friday’s win is the Green and Blue’s seventh straight and moves the Eagles to 10-5-2 on the season, giving them a double-digit win total for a third consecutive season. The loss ends the Bisons’ campaign with a record of 7-12-1.
The Eagles opened the scoring in the 16th minute as they were awarded a free kick from just outside the box. Sophomore Federico Crespo (Heredia, Costa Rico/St. Paul College/Universidad Latina) stepped up and struck a beautiful ball that bent away from the Lipscomb goalkeeper and snuck just inside the right post to give FGCU a 1-0 lead. The goal was the first of the All-Conference second team left back’s career.
As the game wore on, the intensity and physicality picked up between the two teams, including a red card on Lipscomb’s Robbie Johnson in the 67th minute. The match featured 31 fouls and six yellow cards, as well.
After the Bisons went a man down, they tied the game 10 minutes later in the 77th minute. This time it was Lipscomb taking advantage of a free kick, as Omar Djabi blasted a shot that went off the crossbar and into the net to tie the match at 1-1.
The rest of regulation, and the first overtime, came and passed without many quality scoring opportunities to be had, but that all changed in the third minute of the second overtime period. Sophomore Santiago Echeverri (Kissimmee, Fla./Celebration HS), who provided the game-winner last Saturday at Mercer, nearly ended the game himself when he headed a cross that went off the post. That is when a sprinting DeSousa came in and got a foot on the ball, pushing it across the line sending the Eagles’ bench into a frenzied celebration.
“I thought the ball was going in on Santiago’s header, but I have to follow it up just in case and it was a good thing I did,” DeSousa said. “Once the ball hit the post it kind of bounced right out to me and I was able to get a foot on it right before the Lipscomb defender touched it. It’s a great feeling.”
FGCU out-shot Lipscomb 11-8 in the match, avenging its lone loss of the A-Sun regular season to the Bisons on Oct. 9. The Eagles are now 5-2 all-time against Lipscomb with all five wins coming by a 2-1 margin.
Sunday’s A-Sun Championship game can be seen for free on A-Sun TV with Brice Zimmerman providing the play-by-play of all the action. Fans can also get in-game updates through twitter @FGCUEagles and @FGCU_MSoccer.
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