It was a significant week for some of FIU’s most prominent sports teams.
On Sunday night, the men’s soccer team — ranked 15th in the nation — defeated host Kentucky, 2-1, remaining undefeated at 9-0-3. Kentucky entered that game 5-0-1 at home and had held fourth-ranked Indiana to a 0-0 double-overtime draw on Wednesday.
In football on Saturday night, FIU routed Charlotte, 48-23 — its best performance of the season.
And, off center stage but still important, FIU’s baseball team held “Scout Day” on Wednesday.
Here are highlights from each event:
1: Unbeaten: FIU’s men’s soccer team trailed 16th-ranked Kentucky 1-0 midway through the first half before Andrew Booth tied the score off of fellow senior Alban Rousselet’s corner kick.
Then, with just 1:58 left to play, Mohamed Conde scored to hand Kentucky its first regular-season home loss since Oct. 21, 2017. The Wildcats made the NCAA tournament’s elite eight last year and are tough to beat in Lexington.
On the winning goal, freshman Stephen Afrifa slipped a pass to Conde, who flicked a well-placed one-timer with his left foot into the far corner.
For Conde, a senior from Philadelphia who is in his third season with FIU, it was his first goal as a member of the Panthers.
“It was a phenomenal finish,” FIU coach Kevin Nylen said.
Conde also had two assists in FIU’s 3-2 win at Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday, and Nylen played a hunch by playing him higher up against Kentucky, using a two-forward alignment that might have caught the Wildcats by surprise.
“Normally, Mo plays winger on the left side, but we moved him up and it paid off,” Nylen said. “Mo is not a big guy [5-9, 150], but he’s really quick, and we thought his pace would create problems for Kentucky.”
Next up for FIU is Friday’s 7 p.m. home match against fifth-ranked Charlotte.
2: Efficient: FIU quarterback James Morgan completed 13 of 16 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers Saturday. He connected with eight different receivers, earning praise from football coach Butch Davis.
“All the great quarterbacks I’ve ever seen are filmaholics, and [Morgan] is, too,” Davis said. “He’s in here watching film all week long, brings the receivers in with him. He’s super smart, does a great job with protections, and there’s not a throw he can’t make. I don’t care how far it is or if it’s something with a light touch — he can do both.”
3: Showcase: Scouts came to FIU on Wednesday primarily to see junior left-hander Logan Allen and junior right-hander Tyler Myrick, who has fully recovered from elbow surgery that caused him to miss the 2019 season.
Myrick, who threw up to 97 mph before his injury, was at 93 on Wednesday and has hit 95 this fall. He continues to get stronger and still has four months before the start of the season.
Allen, a likely high-round draft pick in June, will not hit in 2020, focusing on pitching, which is where he has the most potential.
Besides Allen and Myrick, FIU coach Mervyl Melendez said some other players caught the attention of scouts.
That list includes three newcomers: junior corner outfielder Justin Farmer, sophomore third baseman/first baseman Alec Sanchez and junior shortstop Francis Villaman.
“The scouts may not have known as much about them, but they did well,” Melendez said. “Farmer showed power, and his throws from the outfield were 91-92. Villaman is a gap hitter who fielded well and threw 89-90 from shortstop. And Alec had a good [batting practice].”