FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women's soccer team suffered its third-straight loss at the hands of the University of Miami Friday evening at the FGCU Soccer Complex. With the 1-0 deficit, the Eagles move to 3-3-1 on the season, while the ACC's Hurricanes improve to 2-4.
The matchup proved to rely on the defense early on as neither team recorded more than four shots in the opening half. The teams entered the break in a scoreless tie that was broken by Miami in the 57th minute. Despite an increased offensive intensity late in the contest, including a goal that was called back on an offside call, the Eagles were unable to match the Hurricane's tally and ultimately fell 1-0.
"This is a tough result," said head coach Jim Blankenship. "We had good chances in the first half and we have to bury those opportunities. We made a mistake with miscommunication and they capitalized to score. That's a tough lesson. We'll have to increase our energy to get the result we want Sunday."
Overall, the visiting team outshot the Eagles 10-8 and produced six shots on goal compared to the Green and Blue's two. Senior Brittany Brown(Rochester, N.Y./Greece-Athena High School) made five saves on the night with three coming late in the game to hold the Hurricane advantage to one goal.
FGCU produced it first offensive threat in the opening minutes of the game as Ali Rogers (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) ran through the Hurricane midfield and toward the endline. Rogers was stopped in a trap near the corner where Miami regained control of the ball to halt the Eagle attempt.
Miami responded in the 13th minute with a shot from the right side of the penalty box that was blocked by the FGCU backline to limit the threat. The Hurricanes against challenged two minutes later but senior centerbackEmma Blackwell (Jenks, Okla./Jenks High School) broke up the play outside the box.
The Eagles' created their best opportunity of the first half in the 29th minute. Rogers again broke through the midfield and into the penalty box on the left side, where she fed Paige Law (Sanibel Island, Fla./Bishop Verot High School) at the far post. Law fired a shot immediately but the attempt hit the cross bar, keeping the game scoreless. Freshman Darien Davis (New Port Richey, Fla./River Ridge High School) blasted a shot on the rebound but the attempt was wide to give Miami possession.
The teams traded shots on goal in the remaining time with Yazmin Velez(Venice, Fla./Venice High School) producing an attempt for the Green and Blue in the 36th minute. Velez received the ball on the left sideline and took a long-range shot that challenged the Miami keeper at the goal line.
The teams entered the break in a scoreless tie with the Hurricanes leading in shots, 4-3.
Both squads started the second stanza with an increased offensive energy.Nikki Hudson (Baltimore, Md./Roland Part Country School/Rutgers) and Rogers produced back-to-back shots in the first seven minutes before Blackwell added to the intensity with a close-range shot that was blocked by the Miami defense.
The Hurricanes created a counterattack in the 57th minute as a midfielder fed a forward in the box. A short pass in front of the net gave way for the Hurricane shot that bounced off the bottom of the cross bar and found the back of the net to push the visiting team ahead 1-0.
Miami fired another tough shot for Brown in the 62nd minute, but the veteran keeper stifled the chance to hold the score at 1-0 before Paulina Speckmaier (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) created an attempt for the Eagles in the 72nd. Speckmaier received the ball near the 25-yard mark and pulled the Miami keeper off her line with a shot in the air but the 1-0 deficit held with 15 minutes remaining.
Brown was challenged once more in the 76th minute on a low shot from the right corner of the 18-yard box. FreshmanAshley Blanchard (Largo, Fla./Largo High School) slowed the shot attempt before Brown scooped the ball and distributed to the FGCU midfield.
Meaghan Mulligan (Freehold, N.J./Colts Neck High School/Tennessee) sped through the Miami midfield in the 84th minute but was pulled down just outside the box. Speckmaier took the free kick for the Eagles but the attempt was stopped by the Miami wall. Senior Ally Kasun (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield High School) used the rebound to get a shot off but the effort went wide.
The Eagles' last attempt came late in the contest after being awarded a corner kick in the 87th minute. Speckmaier's kick found Kaitlin Parker (Palm Harbor, Fla./Clearwater Central Catholic High School) at the far post where Parker found the back of the net on a header. Parker was whistled for being offside, negating the game-tying goal and keeping the score at 1-0 in favor of the visiting team.
The Eagles continue a two-game series against in-state opponents Sunday, Sept. 13 with a 1 p.m. contest against FIU. The Green and Blue will look to get back on track after falling in a third-consecutive game for the first time since the 2007 season.