Central Arkansas Downs Men’s Soccer, 2-1, in Overtime

Central Arkansas Downs Men’s Soccer, 2-1, in Overtime

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Karim Diao scored twice, including the game-winner in the 98th minute, to lead Central Arkansas to a 2-1 overtime win over the FGCU men’s soccer team on Saturday night at Pickering Field. With the loss, FGCU falls to 1-6-1 overall (1-2-0 ASUN), while the Bears, who received votes in this week’s United Soccer Coaches Top 25 poll, improved to 8-1-0 overall and 3-0-0 in league play.  
“The game can be cruel. I thought our guys did a great job getting back in this game. We challenged the team last week, to have collective grit, determination, and resolve to be successful and we can up a few plays short,” said head coach Jesse Cormier. “The lesson feels unjust, but we still have a bit more we could have done to bury our chances, been a bit tighter defensively, and been a bit more brave to put this team away. That’s why they’re 8-1. They know how to make key actions count and make the critical plays that decide the outcome in their favor; we’re still learning, but need to make every moment of our time together count.”
Central Arkansas took a 1-0 lead in halftime thanks to Diao’s first goal of the game which came in the 25th minute. Diao took a strike inside the 18-yard box that snuck through traffic to beat FGCU keeper Gustavo Vasconcelos (Recife, Brazil/Colegio GGE).
The Eagles nearly had a chance in the first half to equalize when Darius Kerr-Cooper (Pickering, Ontario/St. Mary’s HS) received a terrific pass down the near flank. He collected inside the top of the 18-yard box on the near side of the field before crossing in towards the goal mouth.  The pass was on target for a crashing O’Vonte Mullings (Toronto, Ontario/Northview Heights) whose sliding attempt on the play at the top of the six-yard box was thwarted by a UCA defender and keeper Zach Schawl who combined to pin the ball between their bodies before it cross the goal line.
In the second half, FGCU tied the game on a spectacular long pass to set up Aiden Jokomba (Anchovy St. James, Jamaica/Cornwell College) who was streaking down the middle of the field. The 60-yard pass from Ethan Dudley was dropped just in front of Jokomba who secured the ball at the top of the 18-yard box, took a dribble to the right, and then slotted his shot back to the left past a committed Schawl for the score.
Neither side could find the go-ahead goal in the balance of regulation.
In the overtime frame, Trevin Myers (Lehigh Acres, Fla./Riverdale HS/Chowan) had the first chance for the Eagles with a shot that went just right of the target. UCA tallied the game-winner just over five minutes later as the Bears’s Katsuyoshi Kimishima was able to find an unmarked Diao as he tracked down the far side of the 18-yard box. Diao was able to one-time the leading pass with a strike that went just past a charging Vasconcelos for the game-winning tally.
Overall, UCA held a 15-to-10 shot advantage, while the Eagles had a 7-to-5 edge in corner kicks. Vasconcelos made five saves for FGCU, while Schawl made two in the win for the Bears.
The Green and Blue will step away from ASUN play next Wednesday, Oct. 6 when the Eagles head to UAB for its final non-conference match.
For up-to-the-minute information and a behind-the-scenes look at the FGCU men’s soccer program, follow on Twitter @FGCU_MSoccer, Instagram @FGCU_MSoccer, Facebook /FGCUMSoccer, and YouTube /FGCUAthletics. You can also sign-up to have news on FGCU men’s soccer and all 15 sport programs delivered directly to your inbox by visiting www.fgcuathletics.com/email.


Jesse Cormier is in his fifth year as head coach of the FGCU men’s soccer program in the fall of 2021 after being hired in January of 2017 to become just the 2nd head coach in program history. Cormier has guided FGCU to a 30-28-12 (.518) record overall, including a 16-7-4 mark (.667) in ASUN play. The Eagles have reached the ASUN Tournament semifinals for nine-straight seasons (every year of eligibility), as Cormier has coached 28 all-conference selections since his arrival (program-record 10 in 2017). Cormier was the head coach at 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 NCAA Tournament Second Round. During his time with Vermont, Cormier guided the program to the America East Tournament in 12 of 13 seasons, making five title game appearances, winning two tournament crowns, claiming a regular-season championship and advancing to three NCAA tournaments, including a pair of Second Round appearances. Cormier holds an overall 144-115-58 (.551) record 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 the Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), FGCU Athletics’ charities of choice. For more information, including how to make a contribution, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and utilize the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.



FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 85 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just nine seasons of D-I postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 42 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 21, 2020-21), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2021) and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Green and Blue posted a department-best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top-100 showing nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and state of Florida best seven teams earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate in their sport. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.50 GPA in the classroom in the fall 2020 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 24 consecutive semesters. The 2019 Fall, 2020 Spring, 2020 Fall, and 2021 Spring semesters each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher team GPA in each. The Eagles also served an all-time high 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl. 





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