FORT MYERS, Fla. – Finding a number of scoring chances throughout the contest, the FGCU women’s soccer team was finally able to break into the scoring column with a goal in the 64th minute off the foot of sophomore forward Shannen Wacker (Parker, Colo./Ponderosa HS) to take down visiting FIU, 1-0, on Friday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
Opening 2012 with five straight home contests, the Green and Blue’s record now sits at 3-1-1 on the year. Meanwhile, the Panthers dropped to 2-1 this season in the losing effort. Marking the sixth meeting between the programs, FGCU also improved its record to 4-1-1 against FIU, including a 3-1 mark at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
“It was a complete performance tonight and I thought we played really well,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “We pressed for the majority of the match, and I felt like our team stayed fresh for the whole game. So this was a great result against a team that’s been to the tournament and was undefeated entering tonight, and I was pleased with the way we played. I feel like we are getting better with each game, which is really important.”
Although the teams headed to the intermission scoreless, the first half did not lack scoring opportunities. The Green and Blue connected for 14 shots, landing nine of those shots on goal. Meanwhile, the Panthers struck for seven shots, forcing FGCU goalkeeper Brittany Brown (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena HS) to make a trio of saves in the period.
The Eagles finally found the back of the net at the 63:13 mark off the boot of Wacker. Freshman Ally Kasun (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield HS) started the scoring chance with a play into the box, which was flicked forward to Wacker by senior Ashley Ciesielczyk (Oregon, Ohio/Clay HS). Wacker calmly collected the ball in front of FIU keeper Kaitlyn Savage, and buried the shot to the left side of the net for the 1-0 FGCU advantage.
The assist by Ciesielczyk on the play moved her into a share of the FGCU program record for assists with 22 in her career. Kasun’s helper made her FGCU’s leader with six points (2G, 2A), while Wacker sits second on the team with five points on two goals and one assist.
The Panthers found chances to level the game over the final 26 minutes of play, with their best chance coming on a free kick from 35 yards out from Scarlett Montoya in the 78th minute. The strike appeared as if it would find the upper right corner of the net, but sailed just high as the Eagles maintained the one-goal lead.
FIU fired back-to-back shots in the final two minutes of the game, but the Green and Blue sustained its lead for the second shutout of the young season.
For the game, the Eagles held a 22-10 advantage in shots and a commanding 11-0 lead in the corner kick battle. FIU’s Savage was busy in net, recording a game-high 12 stops, while Brown finished with just the three first have saves.
The Eagles will be back in action as they take the road for the first time this season at the UMKC Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. FGCU is set to face Tulsa on Friday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. and follows with a 12 p.m. kickoff against Saint Louis on Sunday, Sept. 9.
Live stats, in-game twitter updates (@FGCUEagles), live stats, results, recaps and a preview of the tournament will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.