Albrecht scores game-winner against visiting Hatters

By: Andres Leon / Staff Writer

The Golden Panthers looked to bounce back after losing two important matches to Ohio State and Penn State this past weekend. FIU (1-2-1) went on to play Stetson on Sept. 10 after the game was pushed back Friday night due to rain.

The Hatters (2-1-0) had better luck than FIU in Ohio, splitting their two games. The Hatters upset the 15th ranked Nittany Lions.

But the Golden Panthers were able to pick up a victory over the Hatters with a 3-2 win.

FIU keeper Eric Reyes had a wild week in preparation for the game after being called to represent Puerto Rico in World Cup qualifying. On the way to Ohio, Reyes received a call from the manager of the team stating that their lead keeper was injured and they needed him to come through. “At this point, I couldn’t be anymore excited.” Reyes also said, “It wasn’t the first time I’ve been contacted, they wanted me to play in training camp but I told them my focus is on FIU and the upcoming games for my team.”

Head coach Munga Eketebi thinks this experience is not only enlightening, but also powerful to a young player like Reyes. “For a player to represent their country is the ultimate position in any sport,” said Eketebi.

Reyes has played well for FIU. Between the posts he has recorded one shutout in his first game in blue and gold, and the 19-year-old has no sense of slowing down after the rewarding experience. Earlier in the season Reyes stated, “Communication is the key to putting this team together and getting wins.”

On his trip to Bayamòn, Puerto Rico, Reyes took his time in getting to know his first team.  Through training and drills, Reyes developed team chemistry.

Even after the 3-0 loss to Canada, Reyes’ hopes were still high. “My coaches preached to me that the most important thing is to have fun out there. No matter if you win or lose, make sure you go out there and have fun and smile because it’s going to go by in 90 minutes and you’ll never have your debut back. It was unbelievable. I couldn’t have asked for anything more … well, maybe I could have asked for a win.”

Reyes’ search for a victory came up close after FIU slipped past Stetson in a 3-2 extra time victory. Striker Jonathan Mendoza net twice for the Hatters, beating keeper Reyes. Early on, Mendoza broke loose and rifled a shot off the post and into the net in the 17’ minute. A little less then 10 minutes later, freshman sensation Quentin Albrecht found the back of the net after beating the Stetson keeper in 1-on-1 play.

Mendoza scored his fifth goal of the season after hustling past Reyes to brake the tie just before the half.

FIU clawed back into contention in the second half. Lucas De Croce fired a cannon on goal and freshman Colby Burdette burried the rebound off the Stetson keeper to equalize.

Reyes recorded three saves with two goals allowed. While veteran keeper Andreas Schnabl recorded a season high eight saves allowing three goals. Stetson took the game into extra time and challenged FIU on every ball.

Mendoza led the Hatters with three shots, all of them on target and with two of them goals for Stetson. However, extra time played a different affect in the overtime period. With quick passing, Quentin Albrecht was able to shock the Hatters again and break the tie with the game-winning goal. “The young players for this team are really a treat and it was a hard fought win and we are starting to play with more chemistry,” said Eketebi.

Albrecht controlled a long ball from defender Nicolas Chase and dropped it onto his left foot, placing the ball in the left corner to give FIU the victory.

The Golden Panthers dominated on the board, outshooting the Hatters 17-11 and out cornered them 11-4. “When you limit corners and you limit shot opportunities you frustrate the opponent and can score on the counter attack like we did,” said Eketebi after the extra time win.

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