Spartanburg, S.C. – The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s soccer needed overtime to tally the decisive goal against the Spartans of USC Upstate on Sunday afternoon in Spartanburg, S.C. Freshman Westin Vallentine put a shot just inside the right post in the 96th minute to lift FGCU to a 1-0 victory.
The Eagles improved to 6-6-1 overall and 4-2-0 with 12 points in the Atlantic Sun Conference, while Upstate fell to 4-6-2 overall and 1-2-2 with four points in the A-Sun.
“The win today was a good response to how poorly we played on Friday,” head coach Bob Butehorn commented following the game. “We received some quality minutes from some of our freshman, which turned out to be the difference in the game.”
In the tightly contested match, the score at intermission remained at 0-0 with the Eagles winning the shot battle 7-5.
FGCU would continue to outshoot Upstate throughout the second half 8-3, but neither team would be able to get one past the keeper before the end of regulation time.
The game remained level at 0-0 as the teams took a short recess before heading into the overtime frame.
In the first overtime frame, it would only take one shot on goal to find the game winner. In the 96th minute of the match, Freshman Alexei Reyes (Dallas, Texas) took a pass in the middle of the field about 45 yards out, dribbled towards the goal and played a through ball to Vallentine (Spring, Texas) at the top of the box. Vallentine moved to his left to free up space and hit a shot just off the ground to the right of a charging Upstate goalkeeper Pat Regna. Regna couldn’t get a hand on the ball and the shot went into the right side of the goal to deliver the victory to the Eagles. The goal was Vallentine’s fifth of the season.
The Eagles have played in four overtime matches on the season, but this marks the first time they were able to come away with the victory.
Florida Gulf Coast ended the contest with a 16 shots, with seven shots on goal, and took three corner kicks. FGCU goalkeeper Matthew Smith (Cape Canaveral, Fla.) registered two saves in the match.
Upstate would tally eight shots in the match, with two shots on goal, and two corner kicks. Regna saved six shots in the outing.
The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s soccer team will now head back to Southwest Florida for the final two home matches of the season. The Eagles will take on the Bears of Mercer on Thursday, October 22nd and then against the Camels of Campbell University on Saturday, October 24th. Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m. start times.