On Thursday, Sept. 10, the FGCU Eagles earned their first win of the season against the Princeton Tigers at the FGCU soccer complex.
Coming into the match, the Eagles were still searching for their first win of the season, after having their 2-0 lead over UCF invalidated due to the officials deeming the match a no contest because of lightning. The team also suffered a loss to Wake Forrest over the weekend.
The Princeton Tigers, on the other hand, were looking to continue their streak and win their second consecutive game. Twenty-seven minutes into the first half, Princeton’s Mark Romanski tackled Dennis Zapata from behind, as the referee blew the whistle and immediately pointed to spot.
Dylan Sacramento stepped up to the spot for the Eagles and scored a cheeky penalty right down the middle as Princeton’s goalkeeper, Ben Hummel, dove right. Sacramento’s goal was the Eagles’ first official goal of the season and gave them a 1-0 advantage going into the half.
In the forty-ninth minute, Princeton’s Andrew Doar played a dangerous ball into the box, when goalkeeper Nathan Ingham dove out to punch the ball. Ingham missed the ball by a couple of centimeters and had a hard fall in the box, as Princeton’s Nico Hurtado put the ball in the back of an empty net, evening out the score at one apiece.
Ingham had to be taken out of the game, as well as other FGCU players. Miguel Jaime, who suffered a concussion, and Eli Roubos were also taken out of the match due to injuries they sustained.
Just five minutes later, David Robledo played a low cross in front of the goal, which was met by the foot of none other than Sacramento, scoring his second goal of the match.
“It’s always nice to score, especially coming from a different school (York University),” Sacramento said. “They (FGCU) have had trouble scoring goals in the past, but that’s my job. And, I’m here to do that all year.”
In the seventieth minute of the game, Princeton midfielder Brenden McSherry took a shot that hit the top of the crossbar and was then headed home by his teammate Josh Miller, tying up the score once again.
In the last two minutes of the match, the Eagles were desperately searching for the game-winning goal. The ball landed at the feet of Preston Kilwien. He took a touch, putting the ball in the air, and blasted a volley with his left foot from 30 yards out, scoring an absolute cracker of a goal.
The home crowd and the team erupted into celebration, as Kilwien’s stunning golazo had just given the Eagles their first victory of the season.
“I tried to hit it to the far post, and it just dropped in,” Kilwien said. “It was crazy. We knew we didn’t have much time, so we tried to get the ball in the box somehow. So, I decided to just hit it.”
This match was Kilwien’s first game as an Eagle.
“It was one of his greatest moments of my career,” he said.
After the match, Coach Bob Butehorn had nothing but positive words for the Eagles.
“I was very pleased with the bench,” Butehorn said. “We had some setbacks after some injuries to Miguel Jaime, Eli Roubos and Nate Ingham, and the bench didn’t give up. They picked themselves up and played.”
At 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, the Eagles will be looking to carry the momentum to their matchup against Penn.