PHLADELPHIA – For the first time in program history, Penn will take on Florida Gulf Coast in men’s soccer on Friday night (7 p.m.) as part of a two-match weekend against schools from the Sunshine State. On Sunday at noon, the Quakers will host Florida International.
The games will be Penn’s first against schools from Florida since a 1994 trip which saw the Quakers play at Florida International and Florida Atlantic. Penn went 1-1-0 on that trip, defeating FAU, 2-0, after a 4-1 overtime loss to FIU.
The Red and Blue will be looking for their first win since the opening weekend of the season, entering the weekend with a 2-4-0 record. After starting the season with a pair of wins and outscoring opponents, 7-0, the Quakers have scored just four goals over their last four matches while conceding 10.
On Tuesday, Penn scored first at Villanova in a City Six match, Duke Lacroix banging in a Nicky Yin pass in the 30’. The Quakers outshot the Wildcats in the game, 13-18, but it was the ‘Cats who connected for two goals in the second half to steal a 2-1 win. The Quakers allowed two goals in a span of 4:24 to see their lead slip away. It was the second time this season that the Quakers conceded two goals in the final 20 minutes of a match to falter on the road.
Penn is 2-1-0 in home matches this season, just 0-1-0 at Rhodes Field. After a 3-0 loss to No. 19 Georgetown last Thursday, the Red and Blue will look to score their first win on their renovated home pitch this weekend.
Six different players have scored at least one goal for the Quakers, led by a foursome which each has two goals. Stephen Baker, Duke Lacroix, Alec Neumann and Louis Schott have each scored twice for the Red and Blue while Alex Reddy leads the club with two assists.
Outside of the Georgetown match last week, Penn has carried the majority of the play in terms of shots taken. Except for the loss to the Hoyas, Penn as had at least as many shots on goal as its opponents and out-targeted its opponent in four of six matches this season. Penn is 2-2-0 in matches where it registers more shots on goal than its opponent.
Friday’s opponent, Florida Gulf Coast, enters the weekend looking for its first win of the season with an 0-5-1 record. After tying South Florida, 2-2, to start the season, the Eagles have dropped four one-goal games and a tough outing on the road at No. 6 Washington.
Last year, FGCU went 11-5-3, including a 6-1-1 mark in the Atlantic Sun to win its third consecutive A-Sun title. The Eagles would go on to win their second A-Sun Conference Tournament and advance to the NCAA Tournament.
Without a senior on their roster, the Eagles rely on youth, especially in the form of reigning Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year, Felipe DeSousa. The sophomore – who interestingly attended Wharton High School in Tampa – was an All-Region selection with a program record-tying seven goals last season. He is already more than halfway to that total in 2013, with four goals in six matches. Santiago Echeverri and Henry Penago each have two goals for the Eagles, who have been outscored by their opponents, 19-10.
FGCU has been splitting time in goal, with returning starter Nathan Ingham making four starts and Danny George earning two starts. Ingham has struggled to an 0-2-0 record and a 3.24 GAA, while George is 0-3-1 with a 2.52 GAA. As a team, FGCU has posted a .604 save percentage, while Penn is at .714.
The only coach Florida Gulf Coast has ever known, Bob Butehorn, is familiar to Penn fans for his stint as an assistant coach with Rudy Fuller. From 2001-05, The Quakers were 41-35-7 while Butehorn was on staff, including a 12-4-1 record in 2002 when the Quakers won an Ivy League championship.
On Sunday, the Quakers will square off with Florida International for the first time in Fuller’s tenure. The Panthers are 3-4-0 entering the weekend, and will take on Princeton Friday night. One of FIU’s wins came against Penn’s opponent on Friday when the Panthers downed FGCU, 4-3.
Sunday’s game will be the seventh road match of the season for the Panthers, FIU entering 2-3-0 in road tilts. The Panthers returned their top six leading scorers from 2013, led by German-born forward Quentin Albrecht. He tallied 23 points in 2012, including 10 goals. So far in 2013, he has two goals and two assists. Roberto Alterio, a transfer from South Florida, leads the club with four goals. Gonzalo Frechilla has one goal and a team-high three assists. Lawrence Craggs has five starts in goal, posting a 2-3-0 record and a .577 save percentage. Daniel Mion had the start last time out, though, making five saves in a 2-0 shutout of Jacksonville.