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Echeverri’s Overtime Goal Lifts FGCU to Second Straight A-Sun Championship
|Stats at a Glance||MER||FGCU|
|Shots (on Goal)||4 (2)||8 (5)|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – After battling for 90 scoreless minutes in regulation, the top-seeded FGCU men’s soccer team captured its second straight Atlantic Sun Championship in the 95th-minute of overtime when sophomore Santiago Echeverri’s (Kissimmee, Fla./Celebration HS) cross deflected off a Mercer defender and into the net for the 1-0 golden goal victory Sunday afternoon at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
FGCU is the only current A-Sun team to win back-to-back championships, doing so in its first two years of postseason eligibility. The Eagles, who have now equaled a program record of eight straight wins heading into the NCAA Tournament, are 11-5-2 on the year.
The Eagles receive the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament and will learn their first round matchup on Monday at 5:30 p.m. during the NCAA Selection Show on NCAA.com. FGCU will hold a Selection Show Party at Naples Flatbread in the Miromar Outlets beginning at 5 p.m.
The game-winning goal was the second in the last three games for Echeverri, who was named the A-Sun Championship MVP. In last Saturday’s showdown in Macon, Ga. against Mercer that decided the regular season champ and host of the tournament, Echeverri struck in the 52nd-minute with his first career game-winner in the 1-0 victory. Sunday’s 1-0 win in the championship is FGCU’s seventh shutout during its current eight-game win streak and sixth consecutive win against Mercer.
FGCU nearly took the lead in the 53rd minute of the game, but was denied by a pair of sensational saves by A-Sun All-Conference second team keeper Greg Ranjitsingh. A shot from the right by Donovan Henry (Parkland, Fla./Stoneman Douglas HS) was saved by Ranjitsingh going to his left and then another blast by Will Morse (Sugar Land, Texas/Clements HS) was stopped when Ranjitsingh came back across the goal to his right.
Led by sophomore Nathan Ingham’s (Ontario, Canada/Keswick HS) two saves, FGCU picked up its league-best eighth shutout and second against Mercer – the top scoring team in the A-Sun. Defenders Federico Crespo (Heredia, Costa Rica/St. Paul College/Universidad Latina) and Daniel Stanese (Pitt Meadows, British Columbia/Pitt Meadows Secondary) joined Echeverri on the All-Tournament team, while Felipe DeSousa (Vila Velha, Brazil/Wharton HS-FL) was also on the squad after scoring Friday night’s game-winner against Lipscomb in double-overtime.
FGCU has won a staggering 19 straight home games against A-Sun foes, including postseason games, dating back to 2008. The Eagles have now knocked Mercer out of the postseason in consecutive years and are 4-0 all-time in its two appearances in the A-Sun Tournament.
A-Sun All-Tournament Team
MVP: Santiago Echeverri – FGCU
Federico Crespo – FGCU
Felipe DeSousa – FGCU
Daniele Stanese – FGCU
Carl-Oscar Andersson – Mercer
Greg Ranjitsingth – Mercer
Josh Shutter – Mercer
Omar Djabi – Lipscomb
Tyler Burkhardt – Lipscomb
Itode Fubara – ETSU