FORT MYERS, Fla. – For the third straight season, the FGCU men’s soccer team will hit the road to open Atlantic Sun Conference play. The Eagles take their 4-2-2 record to Nashville, Tenn. this weekend for contests with Lipscomb on Friday at 8:30 p.m. and Belmont on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
FGCU’s all-time record in Atlantic Sun competition sits at 12-13-2 with a 2-3-1 record in the opening weekend of conference play. The Eagles closed the 2009 conference season strong by winning five of their last six games.
The Blue and Green had just one contest this past week, defeating regionally-ranked FIU, 2-1, on Friday at the FGCU Soccer Complex. Picking up his first goal of the year, junior Josey Portillo (Metairie, La./Grace King HS) notched the first of two Eagle goals in the first half, with fellow classmate Cristian Raudales (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee HS) netting the other on a header that sailed over the out-stretched arms of the FIU keeper.
With the victory over the Golden Panthers, FGCU moved up one spot into sixth place in the NSCAA South Region rankings and earned a pair of votes in the NSCAA/HendrickCars.com National Top 25 Rankings. It marked the second consecutive week, and third time this season, the Blue and Green have appeared in the South Region poll. After opening the season 2-0, the Blue and Green were tabbed fifth in the South Region in the first regular season poll, and were slotted seventh in the region last week following the 1-1 draw with Drexel and the thrilling 1-0 defeat of then-No. 5 Ohio State at the Embassy Suites Kick-Off Classic.
Three student-athletes claim a pair of goals on the pitch this season. Sophomore Deion Jones (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS) leads the team with five points off two goals and an assist, while freshman Ryan Price (Melbourne Beach, Fla./Melbourne HS) and Raudales also have a pair scores to their credit. Additionally, Portillo and senior Matthew O’Shaughnessy (Trinity, Fla./Mitchell HS) hold a goal apiece this season.
Leading the conference in save percentage (.829), redshirt junior keeper Adam Glick (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley HS) has played every minute in net this season for FGCU. Glick’s 34 saves and seven goals against are good for second in the A-Sun, while the two shutouts on his stat line have him in a share of the top spot in the conference.
Picked seventh in the A-Sun preseason poll, Lipscomb (4-4) opens conference play following a 2-0 shutout of Bowling Green on Sunday afternoon. Garret Pettis and Miguel DaSilva lead the team with three goals apiece, while Garrett McLaughlin has netted a pair of goals through their opening eight contests.
FGCU leads the all-time series with Lipscomb, 2-1. In the 2009 matchup, the Eagles used every last minute of the match to take a 2-1 victory (Oct. 11). With the time winding down, FGCU found the back of the net when Raudales sent a header into goal off a corner kick by Francesco DiStefano (Kissimmee, Fla./Osceola HS) in the 88th minute to level the game at one apiece.The 1-1 score would be short lived as DiStefano would tally his second assist of the match by finding Arjun Jani (Sarasota, Fla./Riverview HS) for the game winning goal in the 90th minute, off a free kick from 35 yards out.
Reigning Freshman of the Year Brandon Tarr leads Belmont (3-5) into its Friday night contest with Stetson, scoring three goals thus far on the year. Slotted ninth in the A-Sun preseason vote, Belmont ended its four-match road trip with a 2-1 overtime loss at Duquesne on Saturday night. Freshman Cody Stratton recorded his second career goal, as he tallied the lone Bruin score off of an assist from freshman Nico Olsak. Four other Bruins have scored two goals this season.
The Eagles will look to even the all-time series which sits at 2-1 in favor of Belmont. In last season’s meeting, FGCU blanked Belmont, 4-0, at the FGCU Soccer Complex (Oct. 9). The Eagles got on the board in the 40th minute off the boot of Raudales, and went on to score three second half goals while holding the Bruins scoreless for the victory.
Live stats, box scores and recaps for every FGCU contest are available at www.FGCUAthletics.com. Live updates of FGCU’s games can also be followed on www.twitter.com/FGCUEagles.