FGCU Returns to Pitch With Home Opener Against Bucknell
Friday, August 31, 2012 | by Patrick Pierson (@pierson_sid)
BUCKNELL (0-1-2)
FGCU (1-2-0)
9/2/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 341
1st2nd1OT 2OT Final
FGCU51:38ECHEVERRI, Santiago (SARAVIA, Rodrigo )
BUCKNELL83:36Meyer, Joe (Jarrett, Jermaine )
FGCU105:09MORSE, William (SARAVIA, Rodrigo )
BUCKNELLLansing, Mike105:0926
FGCUINGHAM, Nathan105:0911
Stats at a GlanceBUCKNELLFGCU
Shots (on Goal)2 (2)28 (8)
Corner Kicks15
Yellow Cards11
Red Cards10

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU men’s soccer team will open its 2012 home schedule on Sunday when it welcomes in Patriot League favorite Bucknell to the FGCU Soccer Complex for a 1 p.m. non-conference showdown.

The Eagles enter their home opener with a 0-2 record after falling to No. 2 Akron and No. 16 Georgetown on the road last weekend. FGCU’s tough nine-game non-conference schedule features eight teams that were in TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Preseason Tournament 48, a ranking that predicts the field of 48 for the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Green and Blue are currently No. 42 in the ranking, while Bucknell is No. 48.

FGCU, who is 16-4-1 in the last three seasons at the FGCU Soccer Complex, will also be looking to break out of its struggles in home openers where it is 1-3-1 all-time. The game will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

Over the last three years, FGCU and Bucknell have combined to win their respective conference’s regular season four times with the Eagles doing so in each of its last two years in the Atlantic Sun. FGCU coupled its regular season crown in 2011 with the A-Sun Tournament title, advancing to the NCAA Tournament in its first year of postseason eligibility.

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 and beginning their final home schedule are seniors Deion Jones (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS), William Morse (Sugar Land, Texas/Clements), Andres Navas (Miami, Fla./Sunset Senior HS/FIU) and Jeremy Vollmer (Carmel, Ind./Westfield HS).

The four previous mentioned seniors all saw significant time last weekend, while the Eagles also began to usher in their talented 12-member freshmen class. Five freshmen and a total of eight underclassmen started both games on the road against nationally-ranked foes.

The 2009 and 2010 Patriot League champs were picked to finish sixth in the league’s preseason poll voted on by the head coaches, but were tabbed as the favorite by TopDrawerSoccer.com, landing in the media outlet’s Preseason Tournament 48 Rankings at No. 46.

Bucknell spent the opening weekend of the season at the Nike/VCU Classic where it earned a pair of 1-1 draws against the host Rams and the Atlantic 10’s other newest member Butler. In its opener against VCU, the Bison struck first, but gave up the equalizer in the 81st minute. In its tie against Butler, Bucknell was able to earn the draw on a goal from Preseason All-Patriot League team member Mayowa Alli in the second half.

The goalie matchup will feature a pair of keepers who made double figure saves each over the opening two games. Sophomore Nathan Ingham (Ontario, Canada/Keswick HS) was busy against the 16th-ranked Hoyas, stopping a career-high seven shots and is building off the end of his freshman campaign that saw him earn A-Sun Tournament MVP honors. Bucknell keeper Mike Lansing wasted little time making an immediate impact for the Bison, as the freshman was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week after making 14 saves at the Nike/VCU Classic.

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 gamedays. Live stats can be found at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com, while in-game twitter updates are available at www.twitter.com/fgcumenssoccer.