Panthers heating up after first conference win

The FIU men’s soccer squad (5-5-0) (1-1-0) is coming off its first Conference-USA win of the season under Head Coach Ken Arena, and his first win in C-USA overall as the coach as the team had zero wins, seven losses and a tie last year. The team looks to be playing at the highest level it has all season.

The Panthers are currently on their first win streak of the season as they have won their last two outings. FIU has outscored their opponents six to zero during their two-game win streak.

FIU’s most recent win was a 4-0 victory over conference foe in the University of Marshall Thundering Herd. The four-point margin of victory was the largest point difference to date this season for the Panthers.

However, when asked if it had been the Panthers best performance of the season, junior forward Quentin Albrecht had this to say:

“We played well against many teams, so I don’t think it was the best performance.

But, I’m very happy that we scored four goals and we got the shutout. I think we

played well the whole season but finally we got lucky too,” Albrecht said.

Luck hasn’t always been on the Panthers side this year. Four of the five losses FIU

has this season have been by one point, the only loss that was decided by more than

one goal was a 4-2 loss at the hands of Princeton.

One of the bright spots on the team as of late has been freshman goalie Lawrence Craggs. After a rough start to the season where Craggs allowed 11 goals in five games and was sent to the bench, Craggs has been given a second opportunity and has taken complete advantage of it. In his two games back as FIU’s goalkeeper Craggs has not allowed a goal and has helped lead FIU to a two game victory. Craggs seemed optimistic that the team could continue this success.

“Our team is really unbelievable,” said Craggs. “Our talent could be stacked up next to anybody in the nation. I’m fully confident that we could make a run and make a statement in our conference.”

FIU has recorded a shutout in three of their last four meetings. Two of the three shutouts have come during their current win streak. The last time the Panthers were able to record back-to-back shutouts was in the 2010-2011 campaign. Unfortunately, that FIU team ended the season (7-11-0). However, the 2010-2011 Panthers differed from this year’s Panthers in one major category. Scoring.

The Panthers have already scored 22 goals through 10 games this season. The 22 goals are good enough to rank FIU 11th in the country. In retrospect, the 2010-2011 Panthers scored 18 goals the entire season. This FIU squad has a chance to be one of the most prolific scoring teams in FIU history; the most goals scored by FIU in a single season is 50 in the 2003-2004 season. The 2003-2004 Panthers finished

(14-5-3). The current Panthers would love to have similar success and are on pace to do so. The 2003-2004 team averaged 2.27 goals per game; this year’s team is currently averaging just a shade less at 2.2 goals per game.

“Its nice to be better than the other team at our home field, “ Arena said. ”We have to make sure we get our wins at home.”

The Panthers have played three games at home this year and have put up a (2-1-0) (1-0-0) record in those games. FIU has three home games left on the season, all of which are conference games, which make them crucial so that the Panthers show that they are able to successfully defend their home field. FIU has averaged 320 in attendance per home game this season.

FIU will look to keep their win streak alive against the University of New Mexico Lobos (5-3-2) (1-0-1) on  October 12 at 9 p.m.

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