Kristoffer Aarskog - senior forward will be looking to lead the Owls this weekend
Oct. 26, 2004
After a successful trip to Nashville last week, the Florida Atlantic University men's soccer team faces one of the biggest two-game homestands in the history of the program this weekend.
Wins over Belmont (1-0) and Lipscomb (6-0) in the Music City, combined with UCF's loss to Belmont, mean that victories over conference leaders Georgia State and always-tough Mercer this weekend will put the Owls (9-2, 5-1) a giant step closer to that elusive first Atlantic Sun Conference regular-season title.
Bjorn Totland tallied three goals and six points in the two games last week while Anders Granstad received the conference's Defensive Player-of-the-Week award for his efforts. Freshman David Acosta also found the net in the Lipscomb game, netting his first collegiate goal on a rebound off the post.
The Georgia State Panthers come in to Boca Raton on Friday night with sole ownership of first place in the conference after their 3-2 win over Jacksonville on Sunday. The win also meant they are the first team to clinch a place in the A-Sun Tournament.
The Panthers have an 8-4-1, 6-1 record this season, with three of their losses coming by one goal and the other coming at the expense of Duke, who have been ranked in the Top 25 all season.
Leading the way for Georgia State is midfielder Ben Link. The junior transfer from the University of South Carolina has five goals, three of them game-winning, in 11 games. Sophomore goalkeeper Paulo Gutierrez, who has played every minute of every game this season, is tied for the conference lead in shutouts with four, three of which have come in the month of October.
The Panthers lead the all-time series 6-5 and defeated the Owls 2-1 in 2003. Joey Grigsby got the game-winner in the 78th minute but the Owls still clinched second in the A-Sun despite the loss.
Mercer comes to town having lost four of their last six games with two of those losses coming in the form of 1-0 conference defeats at the hands of Belmont and Jacksonville. The Bears began the season in fine fashion, going 6-2 and winning their first three conference games. At 5-2 in the conference and 8-6 overall, they still have a very legitimate shot at winning the conference title.
The Bears are led by Bolivian freshman Vicente Arze, who is second in the conference in shots taken and is third in assists. The goal-scoring responsibilities for Mercer have been shared by five players who have at least three goals each. Goalkeepers Martin Walker and Kerr McGowan have shared time all season with Walker and his 1.19 goals against average seeing the most time between the pipes.
Mercer leads the all-time series between the teams 9-5-1 but the Owls easily defeated the Bears 4-0 in last year's contest. Totland had a goal and an assist in the victory.