Oct 03, 2018
"I thought our guys responded very well, they showed some mental toughness and grit," said head coach Jesse Cormier. "Playing a team who went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year, who in many ways we suffered our worst loss to last year at home. The guys responded in such a resilient way. It shows that when we provide the energy and they stick together, and work as a team, we can beat anybody."
A penalty awarded to the Panthers in the 27th minute looked to be the difference early on as the FGCU trailed 1-0 at the break. Unfazed, the Eagles got through adversity courtesy of O'Vonte Mullings (Toronto, Ontario/ Northview Heights Secondary) and Ryan Medilah (Paris, France/Lycee Maurice Ravel/San Jacinto/Cloud County) whose scores in the 66th and 68th minute completed the comeback over the C-USA favorites.
Possession through the first 20 minutes of the match seemed equal for both teams until FIU broke through with a penalty kick for the first tally of the contest after 27 minutes. With four minutes remaining in the first period, Miguel Perez (Caracas, Venezuela/Cypress Bay) nearly tallied the equalizer as his left-footed shot went just wide of the far post. At the half, the Eagles trailed 13-8 in shots, with just one coming on goal.
Coming out of the break, the FGCU offense started to find its form, producing four shots and a corner within the first 20 minutes. It didn't take long for them to capitalize as Mullings netted the elusive equalizer in the 66th minute. Playing off Shak Adams (Antioch, Tenn./Cane Ridge HS)inside the penalty area, Mullings tucked it past the keeper's near-post for the tie – it was Mullings first score since Sept. 1 against #1 Wake Forest and fourth of the year.
Just minutes later, FGCU struck again for the 2-1 advantage. Adams was once again in the mix, feeding a pass to Medilah from midfield, who then volleyed it over FIU keeper Hugo Fauroux from outside the 18-yard box for the score. The eventual game-winning goal was Medilah's first while dawning the Green and Blue.
Down the stretch, Eagle keeper Gustavo Vasconcelos (Recife, Brazil/Colegio GGE) and the FGCU backline were tasked with preserving the 2-1 margin and they rose to the occasion. After Medilah's goal, the Panthers were limited to five shots, with just two coming on frame.
FGCU tied a season-high with 17 shots Wednesday night as five were on goal while edging FIU 6-5 in corners. The Panthers, who scored a combined nine goals in their last two outings, recorded 20 shots as only six came on goal.
Vasconcelos ended the night with fives en route to his third win of the year.
Wednesday night's matchup was the fourth non-conference 2017 NCAA Tournament team FGCU has faced this season as the Eagles are now 2-1-1 this year in those contests.
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