MACON, Ga. – Closing out the road portion of the 2010 schedule, the No. 24 FGCU men’s soccer team defended their national ranking and their spot atop the A-Sun standings by defeating Mercer, 3-1, on Saturday evening in Macon, Ga.
As the only remaining unbeaten team in conference play, the No. 24 Eagles stay atop the standings at 10-2-2 overall and a perfect 6-0 in the A-Sun. Although the shutout streak is halted at four games, the Eagles continue to build upon a program-best eight-game winning streak.
“I’m glad we were able to wrap up the road portion of the season with two big victories,” said reigning A-Sun Coach of the Year Bob Butehorn. “ We had a tough weekend, not only with travel, but facing off against two tough opponents. I’m happy with the way the guys handled themselves through the pair of games, but we have to come out and finish strong in these last four contests at home.”
The Eagles took an early 1-0 advantage off the boot of junior Josey Portillo (Metairie, La./Grace King HS) in the 15th minute of play. Set up nicely on a double assist from sophomores Jeremy Vollmer (Carmel, Ind./Westfield HS) and Andres Navas (Miami, Fla./Sunset Senior HS/FIU), Portillo fired a shot into the upper right corner of the goal from 18 yards out for his third goal of the 2010 campaign.
Following the Portillo goal, the remaining 30 minutes of the half would play out scoreless and the teams headed to the intermission with the Eagles trailing in shots, 6-3, and corners, 6-1, but leading on the scoreboard, 1-0. Mercer's Richie Edmondson received a red card in the 42nd minute of play, allowing the Eagles to hold a man advantage for the remainder of the game.
Mercer’s six first half shots forced redshirt junior keeper Adam Glick (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley HS) to send away three shots on goal.
The Blue and Green tightened up the defense and increased the offensive pressure in the second half of play, outshooting the Bears 7-4 in the frame. In the 79th minute, Portillo found another chance at goal but was denied by Mercer’s keeper Brett Petricek. Off the save deflection, sophomore William Morse (Sugar Land, Texas/Clements HS) was able to collect the rebound and put it home for the Eagles’ second goal of the night, and the second goal of his young career.
Not willing to go down without a fight, Mercer found the back of the net in the 84th minute of play on a goal by Joey Heavner. Following a foul on FGCU, Heavner was able to sneak a free kick under the hands of Glick to cut the Eagle lead to 2-1, and setup a dramatic final six minutes of play.
Just three minutes later, senior Caleib Lynch (Merritt Island, Fla./Merritt Island HS/Florida Institute of Technology) added an insurance goal for the Eagles on a great service from freshman Donovan Henry (Parkland, Fla./Stoneman Douglas HS) at the 86:19 mark. This would prove to be the final tally of the match as the Blue and Green celebrated the 3-1 victory over the Bears.
The shot count in the match was level at 10 apiece, while Mercer held an 8-1 lead in the corner kick battle.
With all three saves coming in the first half of play, Glick was able to record his 24th career victory in net. Mercer’s Petricek also finished the night with a trio of saves.
The No. 24 Eagles look to continue their hot streak as they return to the friendly confines of the FGCU Soccer Complex for the remaining four games on the schedule. The Blue and Green prepare for a Tuesday night (Oct. 19) battle with in-state rival FAU (3-6-2, 1-2 MAC) before taking on A-Sun preseason favorite Stetson (8-3-1, 5-1-0) on Friday, Oct. 22. The Hatters are currently in sole possession of second place in the A-Sun, just three points back of FGCU. Kickoff for both contests is slated for 7 p.m.
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.