Men’s Soccer loses to No. 15 FIU in overtime
By Chase Henry
The FGCU men’s soccer (4-6-2) lost against No. 15 Florida International University in double overtime by a score of 3-2 Tuesday evening.
The first goal-scoring opportunity came for FGCU in the fourth minute where Ryan Medilah received the ball with space in between the FIU midfield and defense. Medilah got the ball up in effort but just missed the target as the ball sailed right of the goal.
On FIU’s resulting possession from the missed opportunity, the Panthers propelled into the lead off of a cross from Mohamed Conde that found Xavi Olmes Ferri running late in the Eagles’ penalty area and finishing the opportunity for a goal in the sixth minute. Conde got in behind the Eagles defense’s right flank and delivered the cross in a position where only Ferri could get to it.
The Eagles tried to even things up with three unsuccessful attempts in three straight minutes. The most dangerous opportunity occurred in the 12th minute coming from Shak Adams. Adams drove his way into the Panthers penalty area and offered up a goal-scoring opportunity for FGCU, but no other Eagles managed to get on the end of the chance.
The situation turned from bad to worse for FGCU as Olmes Ferri doubled FIU’s lead in the 16th minute. Conde, again, was on the front end of this scoring-opportunity for the Panthers as he assisted on the score.
Conde didn’t seem to catch much of the ball on his cross, but it floated in the air just long enough for Olmes Ferri to catch FGCU goalkeeper Connor Gavigan flat-footed by chipping it into the top right-hand corner of the Eagles net.
The next 15 minutes were played at a much faster pace, with both teams engaged on attacking that resulted in four combined goal-scoring opportunities.
FGCU got back into the game with a score from O’Vonte Mullings in the 32nd minute. Mullings received the ball with his back to the FIU goal from Ivan Rosales and was able to turn past the defender and slotted his shot past the Panthers goalkeeper into the bottom right-hand corner.
The Eagles continued to keep the momentum up and were looking more likely to be the next team to score with three more scoring-opportunities as the first half came to a close.
FGCU got off to a hot start in the second half with three close scoring opportunities in the first six minutes of the second half. The closest of these came from an FIU foul resulting in a free kick in the 63rd minute where Thomas Deplace came close to volleying the delivery into the back of the net.
Deplace got separation from the FIU player guarding him in the box and the ball appeared to be a little bit in front of him as his volley attempt sailed over the crossbar.
FGCU also had a dangerous opportunity with Ryan Medilah as his shot, which looked to be an ill-fated cross that managed to come too near to the FIU goal, was tipped over the crossbar by the Panthers goalkeeper.
FGCU appeared to be in the ascendency at this point, with registering four shots in six minutes, the last of which was the equalizing goal from Jahan Rajaee in the 77th minute.
The final ten minutes saw some shaky defense for FGCU, as FIU had four opportunities to see the game out in regulation.
Tired legs could be seen from both teams in the first overtime period as five fouls were called. Ernest Mitchell came up big for FGCU with save that kept FGCU alive in the 98th minute.
The intermission seemed to allow FIU to regain confidence and energy as the fateful moments up until FIU’s winning goal were dominated by FIU having chances to score. The Panthers had a chance to score that prompted the FGCU defense to make a last-ditch save in the 104th minute.
FIU had a freekick in the 105th minute from a handball call on FGCU by the referee. With an excellent delivery on the freekick, an FIU player managed to just head the ball into the net and score the game-winning goal.
Following this loss, the FGCU men’s soccer will remain at home as they face off the Saturday against Jacksonville University at 7 p.m.