(4-3-4 (1-1 A-Sun))
Florida Gulf Coast
(4-5-1 (2-0 A-Sun))
10/6/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 256
|Florida Gulf Coast||1||0||1|
|Stats at a Glance||NKU||FGCU|
|Shots (on Goal)||8 (1)||14 (6)|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – For the second straight game redshirt junior Henry Penagos scored the only goal, for the third consecutive match Danny George and the Eagles did not allow a goal and for the fourth contest in a row the FGCU men’s soccer team (4-5-1, 2-0 Atlantic Sun Conference) earned a win, this time on Sunday afternoon in 97-degree heat over Northern Kentucky (4-3-4, 1-1 A-Sun) at the FGCU Soccer Complex, 1-0.
Penagos (Margate. Fla./American Heritage School of Boca) tallied his fourth goal of the campaign on a penalty kick in the 13th minute, and the FGCU defense held up the rest of the way as keeper George (Safety Harbor, Fla./Countryside HS) earned his third consecutive 1-0 shutout.
Penagos’s PK attempt wouldn’t have been possible without the speed of Santiago Echeverri (Kissimmee, Fla./Celebration HS), whose run onto a thru ball was disrupted by a tackle in the box by NKU goalkeeper A.J. Fleak. Penagos then finished his first career penalty kick as the Eagles have now scored first in five straight games.
“These games at 1 o’clock in Florida are so hard to play. The heat is unbearable and makes the game almost like running through mud. It’s hard for the guys, it’s hard for the coaches and it’s hard for the referees,” head coach Bob Butehorn surmised after FGCU’s lone afternoon home match of the season. “So for us to get a result in that type of environment is great. To get two shutouts on the weekend – especially considering two weeks ago we were letting in goals like they were candy – is nice.”
Coupled with its 1-0 win over Lipscomb on Friday, FGCU has now started conference play with back-to-back shutouts for the first time in program history. After allowing 21 goals through the first seven games, George and the Green and Blue – which does not have a senior on its roster – has not allowed a goal in 300 minutes, dating back to Sept. 27 at the University of Pennsylvania.
Following the penalty kick the Eagles continued to apply pressure, and save for a couple NKU attacks, FGCU controlled the pace of play, possession and tempo for the majority of the opening half. Through the first 45 minutes, FGCU only had a 6-1 shot advantage, but four of those were on frame.
NKU flipped the field quickly to start the second half as it attempted the first three shots of the stanza before FGCU responded with a couple of quality looks. From there the two teams were nearly on equal terms across the board, with either the backline or George stepping up to thwart out any Norse scoring opportunities.
Over the last three games of its four-match winning streak, the Eagles defense has started to jell. While George has made quality stops when needed, the backline has prevented many opportunities from being fired on frame as just six shots during the past three games have been on goal, with George making every save.
The victory also continues FGCU’s dominance of the A-Sun as the Eagles have now run their conference record to 24-2-2 since the start of the 2010 season. In that span, 81 possible points could have been earned during the regular season, and FGCU has claimed a staggering 73 of them (90.1 percent).
After leaving Friday’s victory over Lipscomb in the closing minutes with an injury, FGCU’s leading scorer Felipe DeSousa (Tampa, Fla./Wharton HS) did not play against the Norse Sunday. The sophomore paces the Eagles with 11 points on five goals and one assist, and six of his 12 career tallies have been game winners.
FGCU returns to action next weekend as it continues conference play at ETSU and USC Upstate Friday, Oct. 11, and Sunday, Oct. 13, respectively.
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.