FORT MYERS, Fla. – After taking a 1-0 lead just six minutes into the game, the No. 21 FGCU men’s soccer team suffered its first loss since Sept. 10 as visiting FAU rallied with two straight goals to defeat the Eagles, 2-1, in a non-conference showdown Tuesday evening at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
The loss snaps a program-best eight-game win streak and a 10-game unbeaten streak (8-0-2) for FGCU, who now falls to 10-3-2 on the season. The win is the second in a row for FAU as it improves to 4-6-2. The Owls defeated MAC foe N. Illinois in their last outing and tied USF earlier in the year.
“We have to give FAU a lot of credit,” said fourth-year head coach Bob Butehorn. “To beat us on our home field is good statement for their program. I think that we ran into a little bit of complacency tonight, which is surprising to me. Whenever you play a rival school in Florida it’s going to be battle, and we learned a lesson tonight. We have another tough test with Stetson on Friday and we look forward to a championship caliber competition on our home field.”
Sophomore Deion Jones (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS) wasted little time in giving FGCU the early lead in the sixth minute with his team-best fifth goal of the season. Jones received a pass from classmate Jeremy Vollmer (Carmel, Ind./Westfield HS) and quickly turned to deliver a well-struck ball from 30 yards out that one-hoped into the back of the net.
A majority of the first half was evenly played and FAU evened the scoreboard, 1-1, at the 42:16 mark on goal from Ramin Rahemi.
The 1-1 score held up until halftime, as both team’s produced five shots while FGCU held a slight 3-2 edge in corner kicks.
In the second half the Eagles would find themselves in a battle until the final whistle, after FAU’s leading scorer Darnell King sent a shot past FGCU keeper Adam Glick (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley HS) on a one-on-one breakaway, to give the Owls a 2-1 advantage at the 70:29 mark. It was just the fourth second half goal given up all year by the Blue and Green, and only the second time this season they have allowed multiple goals in a game.
Over the final 20 minutes of regulation, the Owls prevented the Eagles from finding the back of the net, and went on to claim the 2-1 victory.
In the contest, FAU held the shot count, 9-8, while FGCU won the corner kick battle, 7-2. Glick finished the contest with a pair of saves, while FAU’s keeper James McCormick sent away four shots.
FGCU will now turn its attention to Friday night’s crucial Atlantic Sun Conference showdown against Stetson (8-3-1). Currently 6-0 in the A-Sun, the Eagles’ 18 points are three ahead of the second place Hatters who are 5-1 in league action. With a win, FGCU can clinch a share of the A-Sun regular season title. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. at the FGCU Soccer Complex.