DAVIDSON, N.C. – The FGCU women’s soccer team capped a successful road swing through North Carolina on Sunday afternoon with a pair of second half goals en route to a 2-1 comeback win over Davidson at Alumni Stadium.
After handing Charlotte its first loss of the season on Friday, the Eagles did the same to Davidson (1-1-1) and in the process snapped the Wildcats’ 13-game (9-0-4) home unbeaten streak that dated back to Nov. 2, 2008. FGCU is now 3-1 on the young season.
“Each game on this road trip presented obstacles that we needed to overcome and both times we found a way to get the job done,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “I’m really impressed with the way we responded to being down a goal after having several scoring chances in the first half. This is another quality win over a good team.”
FGCU has received great balance on the offensive end through the first four games, as seven different players have accounted for the Green and Blue’s eight goals.
Despite owning an 11-4 shot advantage, the opening 45 minutes didn’t yield a goal for either team.
Just over 10 minutes into the second half, Davidson, who used a late goal on Friday night to eventually earn a tie against Providence, took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Sophie Newsom at the 55:44 mark.
Faced with just its second deficit of the season, FGCU responded less than 10 minutes later on a terrific goal by junior Jessica Swartzentruber (Sarasota, Fla./Sarasota Christian HS). Junior Ashley Ciesielczyk (Oregon, Ohio/Clay HS) set up the goal by playing a ball to the back post that was corralled by Swartzentruber and hit past the goal in the 64th minute to knot the score at 1-1.
FGCU continued to supply pressure on the offensive end until it broke through again in the 85th minute on the eventual game-winning goal by freshman Melissa Arnold (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek Regional HS). Again, it was Ciesielczyk setting things up with a pass to Arnold at the end of a diagonal run through the midfield. Arnold used a long touch to split the Davidson defense and draw the goalie off her line just enough to slip a shot into the back of net.
Now with a game-winning goal to her credit, Arnold has wasted little time making an impact for the Eagles, scoring two goals in three games after missing Friday’s contest due to injury.
Davidson came into the contest with 10 goals in its first two games, but was limited to eight shots and one corner kick by an FGCU defense that hasn’t allowed more than one goal in a game over its last 17 matches. Highlighting the defense was goalie Stephanie Powers (Seffner, Fla./Armwood HS) who followed up Friday’s spectacular 12-save performances with four stops on Sunday.
The Eagles finished the game with a 17-8 edge in shots and 5-1 advantage in corner kicks.
FGCU will be back in action on Friday, Sept. 2, when it begins a two-game homestand by hosting Atlantic 10 foe Duquesne at 7 p.m.