FORT MYERS, Fla. – After surrendering the contest’s opening goal midway through the second half, the FGCU women’s soccer team responded with a pair of late goals from freshman Emma Blackwell (Jenks, Okla./Jenks HS), pushing the Eagles past visiting Wisconsin-Green Bay, 2-1, in their opening contest of the 6th Annual Embassy Suites Classic on Friday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
The win marked the 300th career victory for head coach Jim Blankenship, as his all-time record improved to 300-97-21 in 18 seasons. In his six seasons at FGCU, Blankenship holds a 59-26-10 mark.
“Overall, I think we played pretty well tonight,” said Blankenship. “To their credit, they scored a really nice goal on a counter to take the lead in the second half, but we responded with two good goals of our own late in the game. I liked the attitude of our group and the way we battled back. It’s special for me to see how our team approached tonight’s game, especially after we got down.”
The Phoenix (0-2) netted the opening goal of the game at the 62:33 mark, when Hannah Kernen found Megan Braatz inside the box for the 1-0 lead.
Trailing 1-0 on the scoreboard, the Eagles (2-1) found a counter attack following a Green Bay corner kick, as sophomore Melissa Arnold (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek Regional HS) carried the ball down the left sideline. With a well-struck cross, Arnold sent the ball into the center of box and found Blackwell on the far post, who sent a header to the upper right corner to level the score a 1-1 in the 79th minute of play.
Just three minutes later, Blackwell put the Green and Blue out in front with her second career goal at the 81:36 mark following yet another great assist, this time from senior Ashley Ciesielczyk (Oregon, Ohio/Clay HS). Receiving the ball just outside the box, Cielsielczyk split the GB defenders and beat the keeper on a one-on-one as the ball dribbled to the end line. Sliding to prevent a goal kick, Ciesielczyk sent the ball to the center of the box for an easy finish to the back of the net by Blackwell. The assist was the 21st of Ciesielczyk’s career, as she now just sits one assist away from the all-time FGCU record of 22 set by Lindsey Haw (2007-10).
In her first start in net, freshman goalkeeper Brittany Brown (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena HS) earned her first career victory, recording six saves.
For the game the Eagles held a 13-10 shot advantage and a 5-2 edge in corner kicks.
Due to the projected path of tropical storm Isaac, the tournament schedule has been adjusted. The contest between Green Bay and FAU has been moved to Saturday, Aug. 25th at 7 p.m., and the game between FGCU and Illinois State is now slated for a 10 a.m. kickoff on Sunday, Aug. 26th.
Live stats, in-game twitter updates (@FGCUEagles), results and recaps will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.