MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Another goal in the opening minutes of play had the FGCU men’s soccer team in an uphill battle in their first contest at the Marquette Invitational. Facing off with host Marquette, the Eagles dropped the Friday evening contest, 1-0, at Valley Fields in Milwaukee, Wis.
Following back-to-back victories that earned them the fifth spot in the NSCAA South Regional Rankings and 23 votes in the NSCAA/adidas Top 25 poll to open the season, the Blue and Green moved to 2-2-0 on the season with the loss, while Marquette improved to 1-1-1 on the year with the win.
Last weekend, the Eagles allowed a pair of goals in the opening 10 minutes of a 2-0 loss to Old Dominion (Sept. 6).
“We continue to give up early goals when we’re on the road, which is something we have to correct,” said head coach Bob Butehorn. “We have to give a lot of credit to Marquette for executing their game plan effectively.”
FGCU junior midfielder Josey Portillo (Metaire, La./Grace King HS) got an early opportunity in the contest, sending the first shot of the evening towards goal just past the one minute mark.
Shortly thereafter, Marquette was able to find the back of the net following a corner entry to the middle of the box. As the ball settled in front of the net off the Amilcar Herrara corner kick, Calum Mallace finished the play with a volley into the back of the goal at 1:52.
The Eagles would produce a four more scoring opportunities in the period but the Marquette defense stepped in the way of three shots, and junior Cristian Raudales’ (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee HS) shot was sent high of the goal in the 18th minute of play.
As the remainder of the half came to a close, the teams headed to the intermission with the Eagles holding a 5-2 shot advantage and Marquette claiming the 1-0 lead.
After an early attempt in the second half by freshman Nick Patterson (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake HS), Marquette rattled off four consecutive shots and forced redshirt junior goalkeeper Adam Glick (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley HS) to make a pair of saves.
With the clock nearing expiration, sophomore Jelani Smith (Mississauga, Canada/Rick Hansen Secondary) got another good look at the net. In the 90th minute Smith sent a shot at goal but Marquette keeper David Check recorded one final save to hang on for the 1-0 victory.
Marquette held a one shot advantage on the Eagles, 12-11, as FGCU took the corner kick battle, 6-3.
Glick played the entire 90 minute contest in goal for the Blue and Green, registering three saves on the night. Check finished the evening with two saves for Marquette.
The Eagles will be back in action on Sunday afternoon for their second contest at the Marquette Invitational. The match with Valparaiso is set for a 3:05 p.m. start. The Crusaders were victorious in their opening game of the weekend, defeating Santa Clara by a score of 1-0.