FORT MYERS, Fla. – Highlighted by senior day ceremonies on Sunday, the No. 23 FGCU men’s soccer team will look to win the Atlantic Sun regular season title outright as it plays host to a pair of conference contests this weekend. The Eagles face off with Jacksonville on Friday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m., followed by the season finale against North Florida on Sunday, Oct. 31 at 2 p.m.
Sitting alongside ETSU atop the standings, No. 23 FGCU (11-3-2, 7-0) needs just one more point to clinch the outright A-Sun title. A victory or draw in either of this weekend’s contests would solidify sole of possession of the championship for the Eagles. ETSU improved to 12-4-0 overall and 7-2 in the A-Sun with a 4-1 defeat of USC Upstate in its final regular season conference contest on Wednesday evening.
Sunday’s contest will also be senior day for Matthew O’Shaughnessy (Trinity, Fla./Mitchell HS), Arjun Jani (Sarasota, Fla./Riverview HS), Caleib Lynch (Merritt Island, Fla./Merritt Island HS/Florida Institute of Technology), and Matthew Smith (Cape Canaveral, Fla./Merritt Island HS/Coastal Carolina). O’Shaughnessy and Jani will walk off the field for the final time as representatives from the 2007 inaugural team. O’Shaughnessy will exit as FGCU’s leader in minutes played, games played and games started, while ranking in the top five in three other statistical categories (points, goals, game-winning goals). Lynch and Smith join O’Shaughnessy and Jani as the first graduating class in the history of FGCU men’s soccer.
Defeating Stetson for the first time in program history with a double-overtime game-winner last Friday, the No. 23 Eagles clinched at least a share of the conference championship with a 1-0 victory over the Hatters. The victory extended the Blue and Green’s A-Sun home unbeaten streak to nine games (8-0-1) dating back to last season.
The Eagles landed at No. 23 on this week’s Soccer America Top 25 poll, announced on Tuesday. The ranking marks the fourth straight week the Eagles have cracked the soccer outlet’s top 25. FGCU also earned a No. 25 ranking from Yahoo! Sports and received three votes in the latest NSCAA top 25 poll, which put them in a tie for 35th overall with Penn State.
Fresh-off the first Atlantic Sun Player of the Week award of his career, sophomore Deion Jones (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS) continues to lead the Eagles with 15 points on six goals and three assists. Additionally, freshman Ryan Price (Melbourne Beach, Fla./Melbourne HS) holds four goals on the season, while juniors Cristian Raudales (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee HS) and Josey Portillo (Metairie, La./Grace King HS) have each netted three on the season. Outscoring their opposition, 25-11, a total of 11 student-athletes have found the back of the goal for the Eagles this season.
Redshirt junior keeper Adam Glick (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley HS) has played every minute in goal this year (1512:36) and held seven opponents scoreless, while leading the conference in goals against average (0.65), save percentage (.849), and shutouts and ranked second in saves (62).
Splitting a pair of home A-Sun contests last weekend, Jacksonville (8-7-1, 3-4) defeated Campbell, 4-3, prior to its overtime loss to Mercer, 1-0. Holding an eight goal advantage (34-26) over their competition, the Dolphins are led by Nedim Hrustic, who leads the conference with 10 goals on the year, followed by the six goals and five assists from Darko Karamatic. Goalkeeper Johnny Foley has spent the majority of time in net and has sent away 44 shots.
Jacksonville improved its record to 3-0 all-time against FGCU with last year’s 4-1 win in Jacksonville, Fla. The Eagles jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but the Dolphins rattled off four unanswered to take the three goal victory.
North Florida (3-9, 2-5) heads to Fort Myers following an overtime victory over Mercer, 2-1, and a senior night defeat at the hands of Campbell, 1-0, last weekend. Rickey Lawrence leads the Ospreys attack with seven points on a pair of goals and three assists, while Adam O’Neill holds a trio of goals on the season. For the most part, time in net has been split primarily between keepers Andrew Calise (7 goals against, 23 saves) and Tyler Willets (11 goals against, 37 saves).
In last season’s meeting in Jacksonville, Fla., the Eagles took down UNF, 3-0. The Blue and Green are 3-0 all-time against UNF and have outscored the Ospreys 11-1 in the three meetings between the schools.
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.
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.