SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Back-to-back goals in second half proved to be enough for the FGCU women’s soccer team as they defeat USC Upstate 2-0 in the Atlantic Sun Conference opener for both teams on Friday at County University Stadium.
Less than one minute separated both goals for the Eagles, as junior Kayley Clay (Cape Coral, Fla./Lynn) recorded the first goal when she picked up a loose ball that senior Ashley Ciesielczyk (Oregon, Ohio/ Clay HS) and the Spartan keeper were battling for. The ball eventually popped loose to Clay who buried it in the back of the empty net in the 66th minute. It was Clay’s first goal this season.
Freshman Ally Kasun (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield HS) registered her third goal of the year when she beat the goalkeeper in the lower right corner in the 67th minute to make it a 2-0 game. Clay and sophomore Julia Roddar (Falun, Sweden/Wisconsin) set Kasun up for the goal and both were credited with assists.
“It was a good start to conference play. It’s tough to go on the road and pick up a victory” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “We controlled the match and we had a difficult time cracking the goalkeeper, but we were able to get two by her in the second half. It’s not easy to win on the road and we are happy with the result.”
The Eagles improved to 6-2-2 on the season and 1-0 in A-Sun play, while USC Upstate drops to 2-8 and 0-1 in conference action.
The Green and Blue move to 4-0-2 in A-Sun openers and 5-0-1 in A-Sun road openers. FGCU aslo improves its all-time record against USC Upstate to 5-0-1.
The Eagles dominated play in the first half firing seven shots on net and not allowing the Spartans to record a single shot. Kasun recorded four shots on goal, all being stopped by keeper Sarah Plantz. Senior Danielle Faller (Elizabethtown, Pa./Elizabethtown HS) and Roddar also recorded shots on goal, but were denied by Plantz. The Green and Blue held 10-0 in shot differential in the first half.
The Eagles kept control of the ball for much of the second half and the Spartans first scoring opportunity came in the 65th minute when Kenzie Major shot the ball directly at freshman goalkeeper Brittany Brown (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena HS). USC Upstate got their second opportunity on a header by Michelle Calmeyn but she missed the net high. Brown was tested three times and made saves on all three for her third shutout of the season. The Green and Blue out-shot the Spartans 6-4 in the second half and 16-4 for the game.
FGCU will be back in action Sunday, September 23, when they play at ETSU in Johnson City, Tenn. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.