MIAMI, Fla. – Riding a three-match unbeaten streak and coming off a dramatic 2-1 win over SEC member Mississippi State, the FGCU women’s soccer team will look to continue its recent hot play when it travels to FIU on Friday for a 5 p.m. kickoff at the FIU Soccer Stadium.
The Eagles (2-1-1) received an 86th-minute goal from Paulina Speckmaier (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) Sunday to cap their three-game homestand with a 2-0-1 mark. Friday’s game at FIU begins a stretch of three straight matches away from the FGCU Soccer Complex as the team will go 20 days without playing on its home pitch after three contests in a week.
Friday’s early kickoff is due to a home FIU football game at 8 p.m. against UCF. FIU (1-2-0) is coming off a 4-0 loss to the University of Florida on Sunday night. The Gators also defeated the Eagles in their season opener, 3-1, but FGCU had the game tied at 1-1 with less than 10 minutes remaining before surrendering two late goals to the then-No. 9 team in the nation.
FIU opened its season with a 4-2 setback against Arizona at home before defeating Stetson on the road, 2-0. The Panthers have been out-shot, 53-31, while FGCU is out-shooting its opponents, 76-45. FIU is led by Madlen Weinhardt as the sophomore midfielder from Germany has posted two goals and an assist for five points, a total which represents half of the Panthers’ point total as a team.
The Panthers are in their first season as a member of Conference USA after 12 years as a Sun Belt Conference member. Friday will mark the seventh meeting between the two programs, and the Eagles hold an all-time record of 4-1-1 against the Panthers. FGCU’s only loss in the series came during the 2010 season at the FGCU Soccer Complex, when the Panthers netted the golden goal in double overtime at the 102:08 mark in a rain-filled contest.
FGCU has scored eight goals on the year – including five in one outing against Albany – and all eight tallies have been registered by eight different players. The balanced offensive attack is led by Atlantic Sun Preseason Player of the Year Ally Kasun (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield HS), who has posted a goal and an assist for a team-leading three points, a total matched by freshman Tessa Berger (Mahurangi East, New Zealand/Epsom Girls Grammar).
Additionally, 16 FGCU players have attempted at least one shot, and 13 of those have put at least one on frame over the first four games. On the other side of the pitch, Brittany Brown (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena HS) and her defensive core has been solid, having allowed just four goals, and only one over the past three contests. Included in that run is a shutout stretch of 215 minutes from late in the season opener until the early portions of the Mississippi State outing.
Following its trip across the state, FGCU heads all the way across the country to compete in the University of Hawaii Tournament next weekend. The Eagles will play Portland State on Friday before wrapping up the weekend with a contest against Idaho State on Sunday.
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.