FORT MYERS, Fla. – Despite controlling play for the majority of the match, the FGCU women's soccer team dropped a physical and hard-fought 1-0 double overtime match to No. 21 Ohio State Sunday night. The Eagles (1-2) had multiple chances throughout the night to take the lead over the Buckeyes (4-0), however none would find the back of the net.
"That's a tough way to go down," said head coach Jim Blankenship. "Ohio State is ranked top 25 for a reason. I'm certainly pleased with the way we played and we had multiple chances to put them away but they ultimately came up with the big play. I really loved the way we played tonight. We controlled play and had it in the attacking third for most of the game. But credit to them, they withstood a lot of pressure and countered."
In a match featuring 26 fouls, 19 committed by the Green and Blue, the Eagles limited the Buckeyes to only three shots on goal through 110 minutes while creating multiple chances themselves. FGCU held an advantage in shots from the start of the match when Tabby Tindell (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic HS) snuck behind the Ohio State defense but was denied. Tindell had another opportunity 13 minutes later but was again kept off the scoresheet. The best chance of the evening came in the 64th minute but Meaghan Mulligan (Freehold, N.J./Colts Neck High School) put her shot over the bar. Ohio State made the most of its lone chance in overtime, taking advantage of a defensive miscue and ultimately winning the match 1-0.
FGCU nearly got off to a dream start when Camille Knudstrup (Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins HS) sent a long ball up field that ended up at the feet of Tindell. The senior forward beat both of Ohio State's centerbacks and only had Buckeye goalkeeper Jillian McVicker to beat. Tindell's shot was saved by McVicker and the Buckeyes immediately countered. Playing in just her second match since returning from Olympic duty with the Canadian National Team, Ohio State's Nichelle Prince had a shot saved by Melissa Weck (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza HS). The freshman goalkeeper was called upon again in the ninth minute following an Ohio State free kick from 30 yards out. Weck tipped Nikki Walt's shot over the bar to force the first of three Buckeye corners in a three-minute span.
FGCU handled all three corners and created another opportunity for Tindell in the 16th minute. Ali Rogers (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast HS) played Tindell into space along the right side where the forward beat her mark and took on McVicker along the end line. Tindell tried to beat the goalkeeper at the near post but was again kept off the board, leading to an FGCU corner. Tindell had another shot blocked on the ensuing corner kick and Paulina Speckmaier (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) also took a shot from distance, which was blocked.
FGCU was called offside twice in the opening 45 minutes, the first time in the 18th minute when Ashley Parks (St. Louis, Mo./Lafayette HS) tried to send Tindell in on a breakaway. The Eagles would eventually earn another corner, this time Mulligan found Rogers on the far post but the midfielder had her header go wide of goal.
Tindell was again waived for offiside, a much closer decision, in the 29th minute as the Eagles continued to put the Buckeyes on their heels. The Eagles closed out the half with a Megan Young (White Lake, Mich./Walled Lake Northern HS) shot that missed high and a great defensive effort from Knudstrup to prevent Ohio State from testing Weck.
As the second half began, FGCU again asserted themselves against Ohio State. An early corner led to a long distance shot from Speckmaier but McVicker made the save in the 50th minute.
The best chance for either team in the second half came after 63 minutes of play with FGCU controlling the match. Tindell was able to pick out Mulligan, who struck the ball with her first touch but sent it high, keeping the match scoreless.
Six minutes later, Weck came off her line and saved Prince's shot with the forward on a breakaway. Prince was able to get behind the Eagle defense moments later only for Parks to catch the forward, win the ball back and earn a free kick in the process.
With the match nearing regulation, Young nearly picked out Tindell at the far post but McVicker was able to get her fingertips to the ball to deflect it away from Tindell. The match would reach the end of regulation scoreless, with FGCU maintaining a 10-6 advantage in shots.
FGCU had the only chance of the first overtime period, a Tindell shot that went wide of goal, sending the match into a final 10-minute period.
With under three minutes remaining in the second overtime, Prince won the ball 40 yards from goal and raced toward the endline, picked out Haley Walker-Robinson who won the match for the visiting Buckeyes.
Weck made three saves in the match and limited Ohio State by collecting multiple crosses throughout the match. Tindell led FGCU with four shots, two on goal. Rogers, Speckmaier, and Mulligan each tallied two shots.
FGCU remains at home with contest against FIU and Alabama. The Eagles and Panthers meet Thursday at 7 p.m. before the Green and Blue face the Crimson Tide Sunday at 1 p.m.