Men’s soccer starts conference play with a win against Jacksonville
The FGCU men’s soccer team began its quest for a sixth Atlantic Sun Conference championship when the team opened up conference play against Jacksonville with a 4-0 victory at home Wednesday night.
Coming into the game, the Eagles were looking to extend the nation’s longest regular-season conference unbeaten streak to 27 games when playing at home, while the Dolphins looked to stun the five-time A-Sun champion Eagles. After missing the Eagles last two games with a sprained ankle, senior goalkeeper Nathan Ingham made his return to the lineup.
“I have been rehabbing pretty hard these past couple of weeks,” Ingham said. “And, tons of credit to the sports medicine staff, because they’re so good, and they put in so much hours to getting me back on the field. And, I put in my work, and it feels like a million bucks.”
With the Eagles 4-0 shutout against the Dolphins, Ingham is now tied 3rd for all-time career shutouts in A-Sun Conference play. The Eagles started the game quickly, testing the Dolphins’ goalkeeper, Marc Meny, to make some uncomfortable saves in the early minutes of the match.
In the 34th minute, the Eagles struck first when Kamar Marriot threaded a ball through the Dolphins’ defense to Dylan Sacramento, giving him a one-on-one chance against goaltender Meny, which he capitalized on, slotting the ball into the back, left-hand side of the net. Thanks to Sacramento’s fourth goal of the season, the Eagles went into the half with a 1-0 lead.
Ten minutes after the break, the Eagles scored their second goal of the contest when Nico Samayoa played a ball up the middle of the field just outside the box to Justin Gavin who blast a shot past the goalkeeper, giving the Eagles a 2-0 lead, making that Gavin’s first goal as an Eagle. Gavin celebrated emphatically with a backflip that wowed the crowd.
Just eight minutes later, the Eagles found the back of the net again when Skylar Wilks’ cross from the corner was met by the head of Nico Samayoa, extending the Eagles lead to 3-0.
Ten minutes later, the Eagles would find the back of the net one last time when Skylar Wilks chipped the ball past the Dolphins’ backline to Dylan Sacramento where he blasted the ball past the goalkeeper with a thunderous volley, giving the Eagles a 4-0 lead, scoring his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
“Everyone is very technical, it fits my game,” Sacramento said. “I’ve been lucky enough to get in some good areas, and we have fantastic players here who are creative and can put a ball anywhere you want. People have been finding me, and I have been able to put the ball in the back of the net.”
After the game, head coach Bob Butehorn shared how the Eagles handle its new milestone.
“We don’t really talk about it, we just talk about getting better,” Butehorn said. “We don’t talk about winning championships either; we just talk about what we can do to raise our level, and that’s a tribute to the guys and the legacy that was left here.
The Eagles will look to carry their momentum from their dismantling of the Dolphins when they travel to Stetson to play their second A-Sun conference game on Saturday, Oct 3.
“It’s unusual, but we try to not dwell on what we’re doing and see if we can improve the next day,” Butehorn said. “And, that’s something that we have been following, thanks to that legacy.”