Six-peat: Men’s soccer earns sixth A-Sun title with win at Upstate
With a four-goal shutout over USC Upstate Saturday night, No. 22-ranked FGCU men’s soccer earned its sixth straight, Atlantic Sun, regular season championship, going undefeated in conference play.
FGCU has shutout USC Upstate in seven straight games since 2009 and has never suffered a loss to the Spartans through the program’s history.
FGCU’s Albert Ruiz scored the game’s first and last goal, giving FGCU a one-goal advantage in the 63rd minute off a penalty kick and again with a header with less than a minute left in the game. The two goals bring Ruiz to six goals this season.
Ruiz’s goals were accompanied by one goal each from Skylar Wilks and David Robledo.
The +4 goal differential will end up serving FGCU extremely well as the first applicable tiebreaker, should the Eagles and North Florida finish tied atop the A-Sun standings in goal differential in league games. FGCU is currently +14 in that category, while UNF is +6.
UNF defeated Jacksonville Saturday night, 1-0. UNF, which is 3-0-1 in the A-Sun, is the only team that can match FGCU’s 13 points. While FGCU’s A-Sun schedule is complete, UNF hosts USC Upstate next Saturday. Should the Ospreys win, FGCU and UNF will share the regular-season crown, as the two sides played to a 1-1 draw in Jacksonville earlier this year – the only A-Sun goal either team has given up all season.
Anything other than a win for UNF will clinch the title for FGCU outright and subsequent No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, meaning the Eagles would play on their home pitch throughout the postseason if they do not lose. If UNF earns a win, the Ospreys will need to beat the Spartans by at least eight goals to make up the goal differential they currently face with FGCU. If that does not occur, FGCU will receive the No. 1 seed.
FGCU is scheduled to tentatively host the tournament semifinal at the FGCU Soccer Complex on Nov. 7; however, based on the women’s tournament, which will be held at the same venue that same weekend, the game may be shifted to the following day.
The championship game will be played at the higher-seeded team’s home field.