MIAMI, Fla. – The FGCU women's soccer team (2-0) continued its hot start when it rolled into Miami (0-3) on Friday night. The Eagles earned their first-ever victory over the Hurricanes by a score of 2-1 with the first goal provided midway through the second half by Paulina Speckmaier and the game-winner coming from who else, but Tabby Tindell.
"Outstanding performance by our team," head coach Jim Blankenship added. "I'm proud of the girls, how well they fought and how much heart they played with. I thought our defense was stifling; it was just an outstanding performance all around, to hold a team that good to only six shots is very impressive, just a tremendous effort."
The first shot of the game didn't come until the 20th minute from Julia Roddar. The first five shots of the game came from FGCU players but none would find that mark and only two forced the Miami goalkeeper to make a play on the ball. In the first half the Eagles would outshoot Miami 5-1 with the lone Hurricane shot coming on a lazy free kick late in the first half that Brittany Brown handled with ease.
Each team traded a shot once the second half got underway but it was the Eagles who finally broke through the Miami wall in the 54th minute whenShannen Wacker settled a bouncing ball in the Miami box, turned and found an open Speckmaier who deposited her first tally of 2014 in the back of the net to give FGCU a 1-0 advantage.
FGCU continued to apply pressure and in the 58th minute Ashley Parks won a loose ball and fed Tindell near midfield. From there the sophomore broke free, carrying the ball between two defenders down the length of the Miami half before making one move around the goalkeeper to score her third goal of the season with ease, giving FGCU a 2-0 lead.
Miami began to apply pressure following the second FGCU goal, trying three corner kicks in over the span of a minute. Their third corner kick from the right side in the 81st minute was deflected by an FGCU defender to the opposite side of the box. A Miami player collected the free ball in the open field and moved it to a teammate at the top of the box who turned and fired a low, hard shot to the near post that found its mark past a diving Brown, cutting the FGCU lead to 2-1.
Wacker broke free with just over five minutes to go and was one-on-one with the Miami goalkeeper looking to seal this one but her attempt was thwarted by a well-timed tackle that preserved the 2-1 score. But the Green and Blue would play keep away from that point on to secure its first victory over Miami in program history. FGCU would finish with a 9-5 shot advantage and Brown would need to make just three saves.
The 18 goals Tindell has scored in her career already rank fourth all-time in the FGCU record book and are just six shy of the program career record of 24 goals set by 2009 graduate Amber McCall. Tindell's 40 points (18 goals, 4 assists) rank sixth all-time.
From Miami the Eagles will travel to Tampa, Fla. to square off with USF for the first time in the regular season on Sunday. These two programs have met several times in exhibition fashion but never in the regular season. The Bulls closed out 2013 with a 10-4-7 record and a double-overtime, penalty kick loss to UCF in the semifinals of the American Conference Tournament. USF was 0-2 through the opening weekend with a 1-0 loss to FAU and a 2-0 loss to Florida. The Bulls took on Navy on Friday night and battled to a 1-1 draw bringing their 2014 record to 0-2-1
The Green and Blue will conclude its three-game road swing with a visit to Florida International on Wednesday (Sept. 3) for a 7:30 p.m. tilt. The Eagles hold a 4-2-1 advantage in the all-time series including a 1-0 victory at the FGCU Soccer Complex last season - giving FGCU a three-game win streak in the series. FIU finished 2013 with a 7-12 record and a 5-5 mark in Conference USA. They are off to a 1-1 start this season with a 0-2 loss to Arizona and a 3-0 defeat of North Florida. The Panthers are currently on the west coast battling Santa Clara and will visit Pacific on Sunday before meeting the Eagles next week.
Murray State visits the FGCU Soccer Complex on Sunday (Sept. 7) to split five road games for FGCU. These two programs have met once before in 2007 and the Racers came away with a 3-2 victory. Murray State closed 2013 with a 6-10-1 mark and a 3-7 record in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Racers are 1-1 so far this season with a 2-3 loss to Arkansas State. They squared off with Georgia State on Friday night and came away with a 2-1 victory. Murray State will then take on Dayton and FIU before heading to southwest Florida.
For constant, news, photos, videos and updates you can follow the women's soccer team on Twitter @FGCU_WSoccer, on Instagram @FGCU_WSoc or on Facebook: Facebook.com/FGCUWSoccer. You can also find FGCU athletics on YouTube by visiting YouTube.com/FGCUEagles.
Single-game tickets for FGCU Women's Soccer are available at a cost of $6 for adults and $3 for groups of ten (10) or more. Season tickets are also available. For more ticket information and additional deals, visit FGCUathletics.com/tickets, call or visit the ticket office at 239-590-7145.