MACON, Ga. – A pair of Eagles goals in the final four minutes of the second half proved the difference as FGCU (3-0-1) beat 2021 champions SoCon and Mercer (2-2-2 ), qualified for the NCAA tournament, Sunday night at Betts Stadium. The Eagles return to action on Friday, September 16 as they open ASUN play in Jacksonville (2-2-1).
graduate ahead Jovoney Brown (Savanna-La-Mar, Jamaica/North Florida) scored the first goal of the game for the Eagles with a header assisted by the junior midfielder Landon Amers (Palmetto, Florida/Virginia Tech) which stunned the keeper. In the second half senior David Alves (Belo Horizonte, Brazil/West Florida) tied the game with a shot on a pass from the graduate midfielder Abdul Kuku (Sydney, Australia/Seattle) which connected to the left side of the net.
With less than a minute left in the game, scale forward Aedon Kyra (Sydney, Australia./UNLV) received a pass into the box from the junior midfielder Jahvanie Hammond (Lauderhill, Florida/Coral Glades HS) score the last goal of the game.
“What a game, going on the road, outplaying a man in both games and still getting both results in the ultimate testament to the heart and character of this team,” the head coach said. Jesse Cormier. “This is a brotherhood that refuses to back down even in the toughest of circumstances. Mercer are warriors, conference championship, NCAA tournament caliber team, coming back and finding a way to win tells everyone what the ambition is this season.”
In total, FGCU had 18 shots including nine on target while Mercer had nine shots including seven on target. The game saw a total of seven yellow cards issued throughout the afternoon, with the Eagles picking up four and Brown being shown a red card and sent off from the game at 72:20 due to receiving a yellow card seven minutes earlier.
Mercer opened the scoring very quickly in the seventh minute as Michael Ille sent a penalty kick which connected into the back of the net. junior goalkeeper Wyatt Kistner (Midlothian, Virginia / Cosby HS)who had three shutouts this season, couldn’t save it and the Bears took a 1-0 lead.
The Eagles tried valiantly to get on the scoreboard with two shots from Kyra followed by one shot each from senior Aiden Jokomba (Anchovy ST James, Jamaica/Cornwall College), Nadav Ohayon (Herzliya, Israel/Nomi Shemer), first-year student Alon Drey (Or, ‘Aqiva/Israel) and graduate student Timon Zech (Starnberg, Germany/LSUE).
With about 1:03 remaining on the clock for the first half, Brown scored the equalizer to head into the locker room tied at one. In the second half, both teams came out firing with two shots on goal before Brown was ejected from the game. The Bears capitalized and scored as Angel Gonzalez took a pass from Kadeem Agard and made it 2-1 at the 80e minute.
With a man down, FGCU responded six minutes later as Alves scored to level the game again, 2-2. Exactly three minutes later, Mercer was shocked when Hammond passed the ball into the box and Kyra buried it in the left side of the net to seal the win.
HEAD COACH JESSE CORMIER
Jesse Cormier is in his sixth year as head coach of the FGCU men’s soccer program in the fall of 2022 after being hired in January 2017 to become the 2nd head coach in program history. Cormier guided FGCU to an overall record of 36-31-13 (.521), including a 19-9-4 (.656) mark in the ASUN game. The Eagles have reached the ASUN Tournament semifinals in nine of 10 seasons (every year of eligibility except one), as Cormier has coached 31 all-conference selections since joining (program-record 10 in 2017). Cormier was the head coach of his alma mater, the University of Vermont, for the previous 13 seasons. He won 14 games with the Catamounts in 2016 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. While in Vermont, Cormier guided the America East tournament schedule in 12 of 13 seasons, making five appearances in title games, winning two tournament crowns, claiming a regular season championship and qualifying for three NCAA tournaments, including a pair of second round appearances. Cormier holds an overall record of 150-120-59 (.543) as a head coach in his 16-plus seasons at the helm.
FGCU Athletics sponsors events in November and April to benefit the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), FGCU’s Charities of Choice Athletics. For more information, including how to contribute, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and use the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.
ABOUT THE FGCU
FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 85 regular season and conference tournament titles in just 13+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just nine seasons of DI playoff eligibility, the Eagles have brought together 42 teams or individuals competing in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs ranked in the top 25 nationally in their respective sports, including women’s basketball (#21, 2020-21), beach volleyball (#20, 2021) and men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s football. (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Vert et Bleu posted the department’s best sixth place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top 100 nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and Florida State’s top seven teams won the NCAA Public Recognition Award for their rate of academic progression in their sport. FGCU also collectively achieved a record 3.50 classroom GPA in the fall 2020 semester and outperformed the general undergraduate college population for 24 consecutive semesters. The Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 semesters each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a team GPA of 3.0 or higher in each. The Eagles also served an all-time high of 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two finalists for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.