8/24/2012 | Akron, Ohio | Attendance: 4440
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||AKRON|
|Shots (on Goal)||6 (0)||14 (11)|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Opening just the sixth season in program history, the FGCU men’s soccer team will begin its quest to defend its back-to-back Atlantic Sun regular season championships, as well as the first A-Sun Tournament championship and NCAA berth, as it travels to Northeast Ohio to face perennial power No. 2 Akron on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Free live video (via MACSports.com), twitter updates (@FGCUMensSoccer), live stats and results will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.
“The University of Akron does a fantastic job with their support of college soccer,” said reigning A-Sun Coach of the Year Bob Butehorn. “The soccer environment they've created is a true testament to the significant growth of college soccer over the last 10 years. It should be a fantastic opportunity and experience for our young program.”
With three first-place votes, the Green and Blue were predicted to finish second in the standings behind 2011 A-Sun Tournament runner-up ETSU, which received the remaining six votes. Returning from the program’s most historic season to date, senior midfielder Deion Jones (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS), sophomore forward Xavier Silva (Boca Raton, Fla./ North Broward Preparatory School) and sophomore defender Federico Crespo (Heredia, Costa Rica/St. Paul College/Universidad Latina) were each named to the A-Sun Preseason All-Conference team.
Further preseason recognition saw the Eagles land four players on TopDrawerSoccer.com’s A-Sun Top 20 Players to Watch list. FGCU held three of the top 10 spots, as Silva was ranked No. 4, while Jones and Crespo were slotted No. 7 and No. 10, respectively. Rounding out the list for the Green and Blue, redshirt sophomore Donovan Henry (Parkland, Fla./Stoneman Douglas HS) was positioned No. 14 in the league. Additionally, the media outlet slotted FGCU No. 42 in its initial preseason Tournament 48 rankings, which are a running attempt to project the postseason college soccer tournament qualifiers, including every automatic conference berth.
Named the 2011 A-Sun Freshman of the Year, Silva returns as the squad’s leading scorer with 15 points on six goals and three assists last season, earning A-Sun All-Conference second team and All-Freshmen team recognition. Twice named to the A-Sun All-Conference first team, Jones enters his senior season ranked fifth all-time in points (27), while third in goals (9), game-winners (3) and assists (9). In a breakout sophomore season on the defensive backline, Jones set program single-season records for points (17) and goals (7).
In net, the Green and Blue return sophomore keeper Nathan Ingham (Keswick, Ontario/Keswick HS), who was named the A-Sun Tournament MVP last season. The Keswick, Ontario product held a 1.10 goals against average, which ranked second in the Atlantic Sun, and finished with a 6-2 record with one shutout last season. After accumulating 30 saves and posting a .769 save percentage, good for second in the league, the second-year player was invited to Canadian U-20 National Camp this offseason.
Finishing the season with a 12-6-2 overall record, the Eagles entered the 2011 A-Sun Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed after posting a 7-1 mark in league action. Having already secured back-to-back regular season championships, the Green and Blue went on to claim their first-ever A-Sun Tournament title and NCAA Tournament berth in the program’s first season of eligibility. The Green and Blue bring back 15 players from last year’s championship squad and usher in 12 newcomers.
Seeking its third trip in four year to the NCAA College Cup, Akron enters its season opener ranked No. 2 in the country according to Soccer America’s Preseason Top 25 poll. A perennial power, the Zips return eight starters and 10 letterwinners from last season, including veterans Chad Barson, Scott Caldwell and David Meves, who led UA to the 2010 National Championship. Akron finished 2011 ranked No. 11 after posting a 15-4-4 overall record and capturing its seventh consecutive MAC regular season championship with a perfect 6-0 league mark.
Akron welcomes the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the nation in 2012, including four of the top 11 high school recruits in the country. Two of those incoming recruits, striker Alfred Koroma and winger Dillon Serna, were selected to join sophomore midfielder Wil Trapp on the 18-player U.S. Under-20 National Team roster.
Senior midfielder Scott Caldwell finished with 23 points on six goals and 11 assists, to lead all returners from last season. Junior midfielder Aodhan Quinn (3G, 10A) and senior forward Thomas Schmitt (5G) also finished with double digit points in 2011. Goalkeeper David Meves also returns for his senior season in net, after starting 22 games and finishing with a 14-4-4 record last season.
The Zips set an NCAA record for the longest home unbeaten streak during a 5-0 rout of Cleveland State in the 2011 season opener on Aug. 27, extending their historic run to 40 games (38-0-2) dating back to the 2008 campaign. The Zips would remain undefeated at FirstEnergy Stadium–Cub Cadet Field for eight more matches (6-0-2), pushing their all-time record to 48 contests. The streak came to a close when Michigan State escaped with a 1-0 win in the final regular season match with a second-half goal.
FGCU season tickets can be purchased in person at the Alico Arena ticket office or by phone at 239-590-7145. Tickets are also available at www.FGCUathletics.com/tickets. The FGCU ticket office is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday. An adult ticket is $30, while a youth (3-12 years) ticket is $15. Single game tickets can also be bought at $6 for adults and $3 for youth. Groups of 10+ can get in for $3 a person. FGCU students and faculty/staff get in free with their student ID.
New to the 2012 season, FGCU Athletics is excited to offer the Half-Price Sunday Soccer Punch Pass for both adults and youths. This offer is available now through the ticket office and will be available through September 16. They will also be on sale at the ticket office on soccer game days.