FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s soccer team saw points from four different seniors as the team cruised to a 5-0 victory over USC Upstate Friday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex. With the victory on senior night, the Eagles improve to 7-5-2 overall with a 2-0-1 Atlantic Sun Conference mark, while the Spartans fall to 2-10-1 with a 1-2 league record.
The Eagles produced their highest shot total in eight years with 35 attempts, including 16 shots on goal and attempts from 12 different players. Junior Tabby Tindell (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic High School) led the charge with 11 shots and two goals, while four others contributed four shots for the Green and Blue. With help from a strong backline presence, senior Brittany Brown (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena High School) recorded her seventh shutout of the season. Brown was not required to make any saves as USC Upstate took just one shot on the night.
FGCU produced an 18-0 shot advantage in the first half before freshman Camille Knudstrup (Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins High School) moved the Eagles ahead in the 42nd minute. After the break, the home team broke open the game with a goal from senior Ally Kasun (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield High School) in the 55th minute and back-to-back Tindell goals in the 61st and 65th minutes. Rookie Shay Jackson (Parkville, Mo./Park Hill South High School) added a fifth goal in the last minute of action to push the Eagle lead to 5-0.
“This was a nice win,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “It’s senior night, there’s a lot of emotion in it and I thought our team played really well. This is what we were hoping for. I think everyone’s happy with their performance and we got three points, which is always what we’re looking for.”
The Eagles opened the contest firing and saw two quick shots by Nikki Hudson (Baltimore, Md./Roland Park County School/Rutgers) before Knudstrup hit the crossbar with a header in the 10th minute. The Green and Blue added another eight shots before the midpoint of the first half to hold a strong advantage in play over the Spartans. FGCU saw eight first-half corner kicks and produced five shots on the first seven corners.
Sarah Lowicki (Ontario, Canada/Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School) fired a shot from the top of the box that was punched over the bar by the Upstate keeper in the 42nd minute. Kasun took the Eagles’ ensuing corner kick where Shea Rhoney (Lithia, Fla./Newsome High School) and Meaghan Mulligan (Freehold, N.J./Colts Neck High School/Tennessee) teamed up to distribute the ball to Knudstrup in front of the net. The rookie fired the close-range shot to beat the Upstate keeper and give the Eagles a 1-0 lead at the break.
Tindell and Kaitlin Parker (Palm Harbor, Fla./Clearwater Central Catholic High School) challenged the Upstate keeper in the opening minutes of the second half with shots on goal in the 47th and 51st minute, respectively. Upstate created its first offensive threat in the 54th minute when a lofted pass found a forward just outside the box. The Spartan player used a header to flick the ball toward the goal but the team’s best chance went wide.
Just 90 seconds later, Mulligan drove through the midfield on the left side and fed Tindell at the left corner of the box. Tindell placed a perfect pass at Kasun’s feet at the top of the box where the senior captain one-timed a shot that found the back of the net to give FGCU a 2-0 lead in the 55th minute.
The Eagles maintained control and saw shots from Parker and Mulligan before Tindell extended the lead to 3-0 with a low shot at the far post in the 61st minute. Tindell’s first strike of the game was assisted by Rhoney and Parker.
Tindell hit the crossbar with a shot a minute later and again beat the USC Upstate keeper in the 65th minute with an unassisted goal. The junior dribbled through the defense in the middle of the field and cut right before firing a shot that sailed past the keeper to the far post.
The FGCU midfield and backline maintained its efficiency to stifle all Spartan chances in the final minutes as the offense upheld its dominance. The Eagles recorded an additional four shots in the final 15 minutes of action and added a final goal in the 90th minute.
Emma Blackwell (Jenks, Okla./Jenks High School) carried the ball through the Upstate midfield where she passed to Lauren Greene (Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins High School) on the left side. Green chipped the ball into Jackson where the rookie shot the ball over the Upstate keeper from close range and earned her first collegiate goal.
With her seventh clean sheet of the season, Brown extends her FGCU and Atlantic Sun Conference record to 35 shutouts, while Tindell improves her FGCU program records to 45 goals and 109 points with two goals and an assist on the night. Tindell now tops the all-time leaderboard by 17 goals and 26 points.
As a unit, the Eagles have now won 23-straight Atlantic Sun Conference regular season games and 28-straight A-Sun regular season games at home, a streak that stands as the nation’s fourth best.
With a league second-best seven points in A-Sun play, the Eagles will wrap up the home portion of their regular season schedule with a 1 p.m. kickoff against Kennesaw State Sunday, Oct. 11. Sunday’s contest will be a Pink out as the team supports Breast Cancer Awareness. All fans are encouraged to wear pink and will be able to purchase benefit T-Shirts at the marketing table. The team will continue the season with road contests at Lipscomb, NJIT and Stetson in the remaining weeks.