FORT MYERS, Fla. – The No. 25 FGCU men’s soccer team looks to stay undefeated in conference play and extend its four-game winning streak when they welcome a pair of A-Sun schools to the FGCU Soccer complex this weekend. The Eagles host USC Upstate on Friday at 7 p.m. and regionally-ranked ETSU on Sunday at 6 p.m.
The Blue and Green are currently riding a seven-game home unbeaten streak (6-0-1) that dates back to last season and are 5-0-1 in their last six A-Sun home contests.
It was an exciting week for the Eagles, as the team received its first national ranking in the brief four-year history of the program when they were picked 25th by Soccer America on Tuesday. The Blue and Green also picked up six votes in the NSCAA Top 25, which ties them with UAB, Notre Dame, and Michigan for 33rd overall. Tabbed seventh in this week's NSCAA South Region rankings, FGCU has now appeared in the poll for three consecutive weeks and four times this season.
Sitting at 6-2-2 , No. 25 FGCU swept the opening weekend of A-Sun conference play for the first time with a 2-1 overtime win over Lipscomb on Friday and a 2-0 shutout of Belmont on Sunday, both in Nashville, Tenn.
In the Friday evening contest, freshman Ryan Price (Melbourne Beach, Fla./Melbourne HS) tied the game at one apiece midway through the first half and junior Josey Portillo (Metairie, La./Grace King HS) claimed the victory with the decisive header goal in the first overtime period. On Sunday, freshman Donovan Henry (Parkland, Fla./Stoneman Douglas HS) and sophomore William Morse (Sugar Land, Texas/Clements HS) each scored their first collegiate goal helping the Eagles to the 2-0 victory and an undefeated conference start.
In his first season in the Blue and Green, Price is the offensive leader for the Eagles with six points off of a trio of goals. Portillo, junior Cristian Raudales (Brandenton, Fla./Manatee HS) and sophomore Deion Jones (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS) each hold a pair of goals, while six players have recorded an assist in the 2010 campaign. Redshirt junior keeper Adam Glick (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley HS) has played every minute (961:46 ) between the pipes, owning a goals against average of 0.75, making 40 saves and allowing just eight goals through the 10 contests.
Picked to finish 10th in the preseason vote, USC Upstate (1-5-3, 0-2) hosted Mercer and Campbell to open its A-Sun conference slate last week. After falling to Mercer, 2-0, Upstate closed out its four-match homestand with a 1-0 loss to Campbell. With two goals apiece, Maurice Beggs and Hakeem King account for four of the Spartans’ seven goals on the season, while Timo Foerster has tallied four assists through the first nine games. Starting every match with one Defensive Player of the Week (Sept. 28) honor to his name, senior keeper Jason McCabe holds two shutouts and 37 saves.
FGCU holds the all-time record with Upsate at 2-0-1. In last year’s meeting, the Eagles needed overtime to tally the decisive goal against the Spartans in Spartanburg, S.C. Westin Vallentine (Spring Texas/Klein Collins HS) put a shot just inside the right post in the 96th minute to lift FGCU to a 1-0 victory. FGCU goalkeeper Matthew Smith (Cape Canaveral, Fla./Merritt Island HS/Coastal Carolina) registered a pair of saves in the match.
The owner of a five-game winning streak, regionally-ranked ETSU (7-2, 2-0) heads to Stetson on Friday prior to their meeting with the No. 25 Eagles on Sunday evening. Slotted fourth in the A-Sun preseason poll behind FGCU, the Bucs are also behind the Eagles in the NSCAA South Region rankings at number nine. ETSU bolsters its ranking with a 1-0 victory over BCS foe Clemson and a 2-1 defeat of four-time NCAA tournament participant Bradley. The Bucs opened A-Sun play with a 2-0 record following home victories over Campbell, 4-0, and Mercer, 2-1. Scoring eight points apiece through the opening nine matches, Aaron Shoenfeld and David Geno lead ETSU with three goals and two assists, while Itode Fubara has scored twice and assisted three others. Time in net has been evenly split between James Holt (423 min, 3 GA, 11 Svs) and Ronnie Hreha (434 min, 4 GA, 10 Svs).
The Bucs leveled the series at one game apiece with last season’s 3-0 victory over the Eagles in Johnson City, Tenn. FGCU earned its victory in a 3-0 shutout of ETSU in the first meeting between the schools in 2008 at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
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.
Tickets for all home events can be purchased through the FGCU Ticket Office in Alico Arena either in person or by phone at (239) 590-7145. Tickets are also available at www.FGCUathletics.com/tickets.