HONOLULU – Riding a four-match unbeaten streak, the FGCU women’s soccer team (3-1-1) kicks off the University of Hawai’i Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Soccer Classic Friday against Portland State at the Waipi'o Peninsula Soccer Stadium before playing Idaho State on Sunday, Sept. 15.
FGCU will play the first game each day of the classic, with Friday’s game scheduled for a 10:30 p.m. start (4:30 Hawaiian) and Sunday’s slated for an 8:30 p.m. kickoff. Both the Vikings and Bengals are members of the Big Sky Conference, and the two will present a formidable test to the Green and Blue as they were tabbed as co-favorites to win the league in preseason voting.
Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Soccer Classic Schedule (Times Eastern/6-Hour Difference)
Friday, Sept. 13
FGCU vs. Portland State (2-3-0), 10:30 p.m.
Hawai’i (2-2-0) vs. Idaho State (2-3-0), 1:00 a.m.
Sunday, Sept. 15
Idaho State vs. FGCU, 8:30 p.m.
Hawai’i vs. Portland State, 11:00 p.m.
The Green and Blue has been in the Aloha State since Wednesday. Melissa Arnold (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek Regional HS) and Shannen Wacker (Parker Colo./Ponderosa HS) took over the @FGCU_WSoccer Twitter account upon departure early Wednesday morning, and fans can follow along with the team as the junior duo tweets photos and updates from on and off the pitch.
On the pitch, FGCU has been one of the hottest teams in the Atlantic Sun Conference as its most recent 2-1 win at FIU last Friday extended the aforementioned unbeaten streak to four straight. Since dropping their season opener by allowing two late goals to then-No. 9 Florida, the Eagles have gone 3-0-1 and out-scored their opponents 9-2.
FGCU is receiving votes in the NSCAA Southeast Region. The Eagles made the poll last year and were tied for 10th in the Southeast Poll leading into the NCAA Tournament. Among all A-Sun players, Wacker is the current active leader in game-winning goals as the Colorado native has seven – two more than her next closest competitors.
Diversity has been the story of the FGCU season from an offensive perspective so far this year as its 10 goals have been scored by eight different players, with only Paulina Speckmaier (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) and Tabby Tindell (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic HS) tallying multiple goals. Additionally, 14 Eagles have at least one of the team’s 33 points, with three players – Speckmaier, Tindell and freshman defender Tessa Berger (Mahurangi East, New Zealand/Epsom Girls Grammar School) – leading the way with four each. In net, Brittany Brown (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena HS) has started all five games and played all 470 minutes so far this year, making 26 saves, boasting a goals against average of just 0.96 and recording two shutouts.
Scouting Portland State
Friday's match will be the first in the all-time series between Portland State and FGCU. After beginning the season with three straight losses, PSU has posted back-to-back shutouts while lighting up the scoreboard: 7-0 versus New Mexico State and 4-0 opposite CSU Bakersfield. Eryn Brown leads the conference in points (12), points per game (2.40), goals (5) and goals per game (1.00), and ranks tied for the conference lead in assists (2) along with teammates Emma Cooney and Cori Bianchini. Bianchini also ranks tied for second in the conference in points (6: 2g, 2a), while Cooney ranks tied for seventh (4: 1g, 2a). PSU as a team, meanwhile, leads the conference in points (36), points per game (7.20), goals (13), goals per game (2.60), assists (10) and assists per game (2.00). The 2013 PSU roster features 18 underclassmen out of its 25 players, and 16 of those 18 have already appeared in matches for the Vikings.
Scouting Idaho State
Like with Portland State, the contest against Idaho State will be the first between the two teams. The Bengals have lost three games in a row, with the most recent defeat coming 3-2 to Utah State on Saturday following an 88th-minute penalty kick goal by the Aggies. In the first two games of the year – wins over Boise State and the University of Idaho – the ISU defense allowed one goal and seven shots on goal, but over the past three the Bengals have allowed 10 goals and 35 shots on goal. Idaho State has only had four different goal scorers, led by three from Allyson Stainbrook. Of the Bengals’ eight goals, only two have been assisted.
After returning from the 50th state on Tuesday, FGCU will entertain Memphis in its final non-conference home game on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. under the lights of the FGCU Soccer Complex, where the Eagles have a 13-game unbeaten streak, dating back to its lone loss last year. As part of the Feed Southwest Florida Doubleheader Discount, everyone who purchases a ticket to the FGCU volleyball game that same night versus Jacksonville at 6 will be admitted free.
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.