Men's Soccer Opens A-Sun Home Slate with Two-Game Weekend
Thursday, October 11, 2012 | by Patrick Pierson (@Pierson_SID)
Senior CLASS Award candidate Deion Jones scored a goal and had an assist in the 2010 home win over USC Upstate. (Photo by Jason Roberts)
Senior CLASS Award candidate Deion Jones scored a goal and had an assist in the 2010 home win over USC Upstate. (Photo by Jason Roberts)
USC Upstate (3-7-1, 1-2 A-Sun)
FGCU (4-5-2, 1-1-1 A-Sun)
10/12/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 388
USC Upstate000
FGCU27:57SARAVIA, Rodrigo (GUILLEN, Aaron )
FGCUINGHAM, Nathan90:0002
Stats at a GlanceUPSTFGCU
Shots (on Goal)7 (2)12 (3)
Corner Kicks65
Yellow Cards20

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU men’s soccer team will look to return to its two-defending Atlantic Sun champion form this weekend when it hosts conference foes USC Upstate on Friday and North Florida on Sunday at the FGCU Soccer Complex.

The friendly confines of the FGCU Soccer Complex has yielded a 14-0-1 A-Sun home record, including 13 straight wins, for the Green and Blue over its last 15 games at home, dating back to the 2008 season. FGCU’s (3-5-2, 0-1-1 A-Sun) Friday night contest against the Spartans (3-6-1, 1-1 A-Sun) will kick-off at 7 p.m., while Sunday’s game against the Ospreys (3-8, 0-2 A-Sun) will start at 2 p.m.

During its current 15-game home A-Sun unbeaten streak, the Eagles have out-scored their opponents 44-8 and have posted eight shutouts. FGCU is 3-1-1 all-time in A-Sun home openers and will be playing just its fourth game at home this season compared to seven on the road or at neutral sites. Since the start of 2010, the Eagles are 16-2-1 in the A-Sun.

Seven different players have registered a goal this season, led by three from senior Will Morse (Sugar Land, Texas/Clements HS) and two each by senior Jelani Smith (Mississauga, Ontario/Rick Hansen Secondary), sophomore Henry Penagos (Margate, Fla./American Heritage School of Boca/Delray) and freshman Felipe DeSousa (Vila Velha, Brazil/Wharton HS-FL). Sophomore Santiago Echeverri (Kissimmee, Fla./Celebration HS) leads the team with three assists and is part of a group of 13 players that has at least one point.

Sophomore keeper Nathan Ingham (Ontario, Canada/Keswick HS) has played every minute in net in his second season. Ingham is tied for fourth in the A-Sun in shutouts (2) and is sixth in saves (31).

FGCU will carry a 4-0-1 all-time record against USC Upstate into Friday’s match. Oddly enough, the last time FGCU didn’t win an A-Sun game at home was on Oct. 9, 2008, when it battled the Spartans to a 2-2 tie. The Green and Blue have shutout the Spartans in the last three meetings and four times total. Then-sophomore and current Senior CLASS Award candidate Deion Jones (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS) had a goal and an assist in the 2010 home win against USC Upstate.

USC Upstate started the season 2-1, but has since gone 1-5-1 over its last seven games. The Spartans opened A-Sun action last weekend with a tough 2-1 overtime home loss against Jacksonville, but rebounded with a 4-1 win against UNF. In non-conference play, the Spartans battled a very good No. 22 Furman club to a 1-0 decision. Sophomore goalkeeper Dani Alvardo headlines a defense that ranks second in the A-Sun in goals against average (1.16).

FGCU is also unbeaten all-time against visiting North Florida, sporting a 5-0 mark and 21-2 goal margin against the Ospreys. Then-freshman Donavan Henry (Parkland, Fla./Stoneman Douglas HS) set a program single-game record with three assists in the last home meeting with UNF on Oct. 31, 2010.

Like USC Upstate, North Florida got off to a good start winning three of its first five games. The Ospreys enter the weekend on a six-game losing streak and will take on the league’s newest member Northern Kentucky on Friday night before coming to SWFL on Sunday. To UNF’s defense, it’s current six-game slide has come against the likes of UC Riverside, Furman, San Diego State, UCF and A-Sun preseason favorite ETSU.

On Friday, both coaching staffs will take part in the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative and the contest is part of the department’s Third Annual Pink Kick-Off campaign that will feature three games on campus over the weekend. The men’s soccer program has donated a framed FGCU jersey to be raffled off with all the proceeds going to breast cancer awareness and research.

Live stats and live video through A-Sun TV are available for both contests at A-Sun TV is free for all users in 2012-13, announced by the league office in August. Along with updates on the team’s official twitter page (@FGCU_MSoccer), fans can also get updates from around the Atlantic Sun and the nation by using the hashtag #ASUNMSOC or #D1MSOC.