FORT MYERS, Fla. – Two first-half goals were enough for victory for the FGCU women’s soccer team as the Eagles maintained a 2-0 advantage over UNF Friday, Sept. 26 at the FGCU Soccer Complex. With the win, the Eagles begin the conference slate at 1-0 and move to 5-5-1 overall, while the Ospreys fall to 2-8 on the year and 0-1 in A-Sun play.
The Green and Blue produced a strong offensive presence against the Ospreys with 21 shots including nine attempts on goal. The Eagles held UNF to just two shots with both coming in the first half and maintained control throughout the 90-minute contest.
“I’m pleased with the result tonight,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “Getting three points is the goal every night. I thought we moved the ball well and created great chances. Our backs were also fantastic tonight with another clean sheet. We had two early goals but we needed to continue to put the pressure on them and I thought we did a great job with that.”
Ali Rogers (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) and Tabby Tindell (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic High School) found the back of the net for the Eagles in the first half but the two early goals were all the Eagles needed to earn the win. Rogers pushed FGCU ahead in the seventh minute of action with assists from Tindell and Paulina Speckmaier (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) before Tindell sealed the two-goal advantage in the 28th minute with assists from Camille Knudstrup (Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins High School) and Nikki Hudson (Baltimore, Md./Roland Park County School/Rutgers).
The FGCU backline held the Ospreys to just two shots on the night with one attempt on target. Senior goal keeper Brittany Brown (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena High School) helped the backline clear all threats and made one save at the goal line.
Overall, the Eagles saw 10 different players contribute shot attempts with a team-high six from Speckmaier and three by Tindell.
The Eagles opened the contest with five shots from four players in the first 10 minutes. The home team was awarded a corner kick in the third minute where Knudstrup’s header went high before Kaitlin Parker (Palm Harbor, Fla./Clearwater Central Catholic High School) challenged the UNF keeper with a shot on goal from the left side.
In the seventh minute, Speckmaier ran through the midfield on the left side and dished the ball to Tindell in the box. Tindell completed a short pass to Rogers on the right side where Rogers fired a low shot that found the net at the far post.
Rogers’ blast pushed the Eagles ahead early on, but the Green and Blue continued to challenge.
The Eagles saw shots from Yazmin Velez (Venice, Fla./Venice High School), Speckmaier and Tindell in the next seven minutes before UNF earned its first offensive opportunity at the 19-minute mark. The Ospreys’ shot attempt went wide and gave way for the Eagles to produce another wave of offensive attacks.
After back-to-back shots on goal from Ally Kasun (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield High School) and Meaghan Mulligan (Freehold, N.J./Colts Neck High School/Tennessee), Hudson received the ball from Knudstrup and created an impressive run through the UNF midfield. Hudson pushed the ball into the box where Tindell beat another defender and fired a shot from the right side. Tindell’s shot beat the UNF keeper and moved FGCU ahead 2-0.
The Eagles maintained the attack through the end of the half but were challenged by UNF once more before the whistle. FGCU was called offside in the 44th minute and saw as UNF created a counter attack on the free kick. The Ospreys pushed into their offensive third and fired a shot at Brown from 20-yards out but the veteran keeper stopped the attempt easily to hold the 2-0 lead for FGCU.
The offensive surge continued early in the second half as Parker, Hudson and Speckmaier all created attempts that went wide in the first seven minutes. The surge was followed by a Rogers run down the left side. Rogers cut into the middle of the field and paused to beat a defender at the top of the box before firing a shot at that pulled the UNF keeper off the line in the 59th minute.
Ten minutes later, Speckmaier challenged the keeper again with a shot from 20-yards out. The Eagles maintained complete control in the second half with 11 total shots from seven different players. Mulligan forced the UNF keeper to another save in the 74th minute but the Ospreys held the Eagles scoreless in the remaining time.
The Eagles ultimately finished with 21 shot attempts including nine shots on goal as they defeated the Ospreys 1-0 in the A-Sun opener.
The team will travel to Jacksonville to face the JU Dolphins on Friday, Oct. 2 in an A-Sun tilt before taking on Wake Forest in a neutral match Sunday, Oct. 4 in Macon, Ga. The 3:30 p.m. kickoff the Wake Forest will stand as the team’s final nonconference contest before picking up with the rest of the A-Sun schedule.