FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Stetson men's soccer team dropped its Atlantic Sun Conference regular season finale on the road at Florida Gulf Coast by a score of 2-0 on Wednesday night.
A win over the Eagles would have put the Hatters into its 15th straight A-Sun Conference Tournament, but now Stetson will need help from either North Florida or Northern Kentucky to secure a berth. If the Ospreys are able to earn at least a draw against Jacksonville on Saturday, the Hatters would finish tied with the Dolphins and advance to the tournament over them due to their 2-0 win back in early September.
Lipscomb, which is currently tied with Stetson with seven league points, challenges the newest member of the A-Sun in its conference finale on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Since the Hatters tied the Bisons earlier this year, head to head tie breakers would be off the table. Stetson would need the Norse to top Lipscomb by more than two goals and the Hatters would advance due to goal differential against league opponents.
FGCU moved into second place in A-Sun play with the victory, and can earn the top in the tournament with a win over Mercer on Saturday. The Eagles took the advantage on Wednesday late in the first half on a corner kick in the 40th minute. Jelani Smith tallied his third goal of the season on an assist from Frederico Crespo.
As the game wore on in the second 45 minutes, the Eagles distanced themselves from the Hatters on the scoreboard, making it 2-0 on a penalty kick in the 73rd minute. After a foul in the box awarded FGCU the free one, Andres Navas stepped up to the line and put it past goalkeeper Andreas Schnabl to secure the Eagle victory.
Stetson trailed FGCU in shots by a mark of 12-7, and recorded three corner kicks to the Eagles' six. Schnabl was able to save five shots in the defeat, while Nathan Ingham recorded three saves in the victory.
"It was a tough loss to take," Head Coach T. Logan Fleck said after the game. "We didn't play well enough as a team, and unfortunately we now must pay the price of sitting and waiting to see if we make it into the conference championship."
The Hatters will finish out the regular season with a non-conference contest on the road at Georgia State this Sunday. The two teams are scheduled to kick off at 1:00 p.m. in Atlanta.