For six seasons, FGCU’s head coach Bob Butehorn has been building a culture in Fort Myers at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
Since the opening season in 2007 when the Eagles earned eight wins to the 2010 squad which set a program record with 13 victories, Butehorn was laying the foundation for success.
With the Eagles eligible for A-Sun Championship play for the first time last season, Butehorn and his team of nine seniors were prepped for postseason success and came away with the program’s first A-Sun Championship crown and NCAA berth.
This season, there is no comparison in championship squads except for one, “A Culture of Winning.”
“The only comparison to last year’s team is the culture that we have built here, which has carried over to this year. We have a culture here that bonds the guys as friends and they play a way we want them to play and it’s a style we like to play.”
With 12 freshmen and nine sophomores on the squad this season, FGCU worked several fresh new faces into the lineup after the founding seniors departed the program in 2011 after the Eagles first postseason appearance.
One of the holdovers from last year’s squad was senior Jeremy Vollmer, who started every game this season in the midfield after starting in 19, a year ago.
“It’s a completely different feeling this year and it’s hard to compare the two,” Vollmer said. “Last year, we were on top and had a lot of experience going into ETSU as the number one seed, but we were still playing on the road and this year to play in front of our fans was great. This year is a completely different season and we took a completely different route to the championship.”
The 2011 squad entered the A-Sun Championship as the top seed in Johnson City with a 10-5-2 record before earning a 2-1 win vs. Mercer in the semifinals and capping the championship run with a 1-0 victory vs. ETSU on an 89th minute goal by senior Scott Harrison.
On Sunday, the FGCU – Mercer final took a different tone as the top-two seeds were meeting for the second time in the past eight days as the two teams met on Nov. 3rd with the Eagles taking a 1-0 win on a Santiago Echeverri goal to claim the regular-season title for FGCU for the third-straight season.
“It was a battle out there and we were willing to take it on,” Vollmer said. “We wanted to keep the ball moving and we were hoping to get an earlier goal, but we will take the win either way.”
With Butehorn and his assistant for six seasons, Alex Aldaz, at the helm of the program FGCU expects more titles in their future as Vollmer simply stated.
“This is where we expect to be every year.”