FGCU defeats Lipscomb, Sacramento makes SC Top-10 goal
In a battle of unbeaten conference teams, the No. 22 FGCU took on the Lipscomb Bisons Saturday, Oct. 17. With the match being FGCU’s Senior Night, the Eagles were looking to get a win in their last home conference game of the regular season, and they did, defeating the Bisons by a score of 4-0.
In a hard-fought first half that saw 14 fouls between both teams, neither team was able to put the ball in the back of the net. The Eagles had some close opportunities in the opening 45, including an effort by Rodrigo Saravia, which hit the post in the 27th minute.
At the end of the half, the match remained in a deadlock at 0-0. One minute after play resumed, Albert Ruiz came charging into the Bisons’ box where he was taken down by a Lipscomb defender. After the referee deemed the Eagles a penalty, Ruiz calmly stepped up to the spot and put the ball in the back left corner of the net, putting the Eagles up 1-0. That goal gives Ruiz three goals this season, all three of which came from the spot.
In the 56th minute Dennis Zapata dribbled around the Bisons’ defense and played a ball through to Skylar Wilks, who spun around the defender and slotted the ball past the Lipscomb goalkeeper, giving the Eagles a 2-0 lead. With the assist from Zapata, that goal gave Wilks his second of the season, as well as his second goal of his FGCU career.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Wilks said. “Dennis slipped me a nice ball on top of the box, and I was able to turn and finish. Our defense held strong, along with another shutout for Nate Ingham, and it’s huge. It’s just a great feeling. Senior night is something you look forward to after all of this hard work. To be able to score here and just perform for the team is incredible.”
Twenty-one minutes later, Preston Kilwien whipped a ball into the box that Lipscomb goalkeeper Micah Bledsoe misjudged. With Bledsoe failing to clear the ball, Dylan Sacramento got the ball outside the box, shot the ball over his head with his back to the goal and slotted it over the Lipscomb defender into the net. Sacramento’s sixth goal of the season gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead with 13 minutes left to play.
Sacramento’s goal landed him the No. 7 spot on Sports Center’s Top-10 plays of the day, the team’s second of the season.
“I read that the keeper was going to drop the ball,” Sacramento said. “I happened to put it over him, and it flew right into the back of the net. Kind of lucky, but I’ll take it.”
With six seconds left to play in the match, Justin Gavin played the ball in the box to Cameron Thomas, and he buried the ball in the back of the net, increasing the Eagles lead to 4-0. With this win, the Eagles now have extended the nation’s longest regular-season home conference unbeaten streak to 29 games and are now three points clear at the top of the Atlantic Sun Conference table over the UNF Ospreys.
“The offense got in gear,” said head coach Bob Butehorn. “We created chances in the last two games, and I threw down a challenge to the guys. And, I said, ‘Let’s make a statement — show that we have a good team,’ and I think the kids played really well.”
Butehorn also had high praise for his senior class.
“They are some of my favorites,” Butehorn said. “I’ve had some good groups come through, but they are just a great group of guys. I’m proud that they had this moment — glad that their parents were here to see it — and it was a special night.”
The next game for the Eagles will be their last regular-season home game of the year when the take on instate rival FIU Tuesday night.