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Men’s Soccer Shows Out for ASUN Home Opener

Jessica Piland/FGCU Athletics
Senior midfielder Alejandro Rodriguez (33) scored the Eagle’s their third goal of the night against the Stetson Hatters on Saturday September 23, 2023.

Saturday, Sept. 23 marked the ASUN home opener for the FGCU men’s soccer team. The Eagles came into the match off of a 1-1 tie against the Jacksonville Dolphins on the road. They headed home to Pickering Field looking to acquire their first win in ASUN Conference play.

For their ASUN Conference home opener, the FGCU Eagles entered with a record of 1-2-3 and a conference record of 0-0-1. They welcomed the Stetson Hatters, who entered 4-2-2 and were on a two game win streak, beating Florida Atlantic University and North Florida.

The Hatters kicked the game off. This started Stetson’s early defensive stand with two fouls committed by the Eagles against the Hatters. These fouls would lead to an onslaught of shots by Stetson, with three coming in a matter of minutes.

This is when the tide of the game would begin to shift. The Eagles would have multiple shots on goal, keeping the pressure on Stetson to make something happen.

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Coming off a corner kick, graduate student and defender Jonathan Bryant would score the Eagles’ first goal with an assist from Niall Reid-Stephen. It’s Bryant’s first goal of the season.

Stetson would turn on the aggression after the Eagles’ first goal, leading to two fouls against the Hatters—the second foul leading to a penalty kick for FGCU. Junior forward Pau Santanach would take advantage of the penalty, earning his first goal of the season, and pushed the score to 2-0 FGCU in the 26th minute.

The half ended with one shot being allowed on goal by both teams and the first yellow card of the game by FGCU senior forward Luke Peperak.

Heading into the second half, the Eagles could not get too confident as they had been in this position before, leading at the half but being unable to close out games previously.

The second half started aggressively with the Eagles claiming two shots on goal while committing two fouls and earning their second yellow card.

As the game went on, Stetson was able to get two more shots on goal but sophomore goalkeeper Daniel Copeland was able to save both. Copeland ended up recording a shutout on four saves in his debut.

FGCU was able to turn the pressure around, getting two shots on goal before finally punching the ball in to go up 3-0 in the 65th minute. Senior midfielder Alejandro Rodriguez would score his second goal of the season with an assist by graduate student and forward Gustavo Ferrari. Three goals would be the most scored by the Eagles at this point in the season but they weren’t quite done yet.

After the Eagles went up by three, the Hatters could not stop the momentum. There would be two chances at goals for the Eagles, both called back for offsides. However, FGCU ended the scoring with freshman forward Job Choute scoring his first collegiate goal. Choute ran into the stands to celebrate with his family afterward.

The game would end with one more yellow card being given to each team and a diving save by the Eagles to keep the game a shutout. It was the most dangerous shot FGCU faced.

The 4-0 win against the Stetson Hatters is FGCU’s second win of the season. The Eagles now have a record of 2-2-3 and 1-0-1 in conference, sitting second in the ASUN Conference. FGCU now goes on the road to play North Florida this Saturday before returning to Pickering Field Oct. 7 to face Bellarmine.

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About the Contributor
Jeffrey Hrunka
Jeffrey Hrunka, Eagle News Assistant Sports Editor
Jeffrey Hrunka is a junior double majoring in communications and journalism with a concentration in public relations. Jeffrey is from Fort Myers where his interest in sports journalism originated after falling in love with the world of motorsports. When he’s not working for Eagle News, he is usually spending time with friends, watching the New York Giants lose, or chilling in the pool.

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