FORT MYERS, Fla. – Despite out-shooting visiting Davidson, 30-10, the FGCU women’s soccer team couldn’t find the back of the net in the first night of the Embassy Suites Classic against the Wildcats, and after 110 minutes of intense action the two teams finished in a scoreless, double-overtime tie.
The best chance of the game for either side to score came in the 75th minute when Paulina Speckmaier (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) was taken down inside the box attempting a shot. But her subsequent penalty shot was stopped by Davidson keeper Rachel Locke, who allowed a rebound that careened right back to Speckmaier, whose second shot was also rejected to Locke.
After holding a 7-1 shot advantage at the halftime break, the Green and Blue expanded on that in the second half as they attempted 15 shots and five corner kicks. However, Locke was equal to the task each time, including two crucial saves in the second, 10-minute overtime session. On the night she made 10 stops, eight of which came after halftime.
“We battled,” head coach Jim Blankenship said. “Hats off to them for hanging on. Their keeper made three or four saves to keep them in it and she saved the penalty kick. I like how our group just kept going at it. The girls pressed, we pressed for a goal at the end, so I think we can build from that. Just watching our team’s reaction, they were disappointed, but you know that’s soccer. You’ve got to finish it out and give it to their keeper; she kept them in the game.”
The double-overtime scoreless tie is the first for FGCU since the 2011 season against Jacksonville. The last 0-0 draw in FGCU’s non-conference ledger occurred in 2009 opposite FIU.
Speckmaier came off the bench to tie for the Eagles lead in shots with six, three of which went on frame. Sarah Lowicki (Ontario, Canada/Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School) also attempted six shots, firing two on net. In the Eagles’ net, Brittany Brown (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena HS) made four saves for her second straight shutout, including a crucial finger-tip save late in regulation.
FGCU’s best opportunity to score early in the contest came roughly 15 minutes in as Shannon Wacker (Parker, Colo./Ponderosa HS) found her way in-between the Davidson backline and slid a shot from the near post just outside the right post.
The Green and Blue had another good opportunity to put an opening tally on the board in the 33rd minute as Tabby Tindell (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic HS) beat two Wildcat defenders and was fouled just outside the box on the right side of the pitch. However, FGCU’s subsequent set-piece effort was thwarted out by the Southern Conference member.
FGCU continued to keep the pressure on at the beginning at the second stanza with a perfect corner kick effort from Melissa Arnold (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek Regional HS), but it flew just over the leaping effort of Tessa Berger (Mahurangi, New Zealand/Epsom Girls Grammar School). Minutes later – this time off a set piece following a Davidson foul – the duo actually teamed up, but Berger’s header went just left.
The field of play started to shift midway through the second half as Davidson began to create several quality chances. The Wildcats attempted four shots in a four-minute span between minutes 66 and 70, two which just missed the frame, another that was saved by Brown and a final attempt that was blocked down by a staunch FGCU defensive core.
FGCU’s final quality opportunity of the evening came in the 108th minute when Berger’s header off another Arnold corner was skied too high over the crossbar.
FGCU returns to action on Sunday as the Embassy Suites Classic continues. The Eagles host Mississippi State at 1 p.m. after Davidson opens the day’s contests at 10:30 that morning versus FAU. Earlier on Friday, Mississippi State defeated FAU, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: FGCU had nine corners compared with two for Davidson … Davidson committed 10 fouls to FGCU’s nine … six Eagles played all 110 minutes, while Berger logged 108 minutes and only stepped off for a couple minutes because of an injury … three yellow cards were issued: one to the Davidson bench and two to FGCU (Ashley Parks (Wildmood, Mo./Lafayette HS) and Emma Blackwell (Jenks, Okla./Jenks HS)).
2013-14 women’s soccer season tickets are now available by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets. Season tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for youth (ages 3-12). Single-game tickets can also be purchased for $6 per adult and $3 for youth. Groups of 10+ can receive a discounted rate of $3 per person. FGCU students and faculty/staff are admitted for free with a valid University ID.