FORT MYERS, Fla. – After 82 scoreless minutes, a late goal from junior Tabby Tindell gave the FGCU women’s soccer team a 1-0 win over Kennesaw State Sunday afternoon at the FGCU Soccer Complex. With the win, the Eagles move to 8-5-2 overall with a 3-0-1 record in Atlantic Sun Conference play, while the Owls fall to 4-8-2 with a 1-2-1 mark in league action.
The Eagles outshot the Owls 18-1 over the 90-minute affair but were held scoreless until the 83rd minute. Tindell (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic High School) led the Eagles with five shots on the day, including three on target and the late goal. Once again, the FGCU backline was stellar as the team limited KSU to just one shot that was off target. Senior Brittany Brown (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena High School) recorded her eighth shutout of the season but was not required to make a save for the second-straight game.
“Defensively, I thought we played really well. They were rock solid,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “They held a very good team to one shot and you can’t ask for much more than that. I give a lot of credit to Kennesaw. They had a smart plan. They kept people back and tried to counter and that’s a dangerous situation to face. It wasn’t our best match, but we got three points and that’s the key.
Kennesaw State battled with the Eagles from the opening whistle and created a corner kick opportunity in the first five minutes. The FGCU backline halted the attempt and cleared the ball to take control from there. In the seventh minute, Meaghan Mulligan (Freehold, N.J./Colts Neck High School/Tennessee) challenged the KSU keeper with a header from the left side. A cross found Mulligan near the eight-yard mark but her header was stopped.
The Eagles added two more chances in the next five minutes with shots from seniors Ally Kasun (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield High School) and Kaitlin Parker (Palm Harbor, Fla./Clearwater Central Catholic High School) but both attempts sailed high. The Green and Blue continued to pressure the KSU backline and added shots from Tindell, Kasun, Paulina Speckmaier (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep), Mulligan and freshman Darien Davis (New Port Richey, Fla./River Ridge High School) before halftime but were unable to score.
FGCU outshot KSU 7-0 in the first 45 minutes and carried its offensive momentum into the second half.
The Eagles came out firing in the second stanza and saw a shot from Kasun on the team’s opening drive but the attempt was wide. Yazmin Velez (Venice, Fla./Venice High School) put another shot high in the 53rd minute before Ali Rogers (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) generated a run down the right side that forced the KSU keeper to make a diving save.
The Owls created their best offensive chance in the 64th minute as FGCU was whistled for a foul just outside the box on the right side. The free kick was sent toward the net but Nikki Hudson (Baltimore, Md./Roland Park County School/Rutgers) blocked the shot attempt as she crashed the kicker on KSU’s first touch. Hudson’s block gave the Eagles control of the ball again as the Eagles continued to play in their offensive third.
While the Eagles continued to attack, KSU’s backline held strong and limited all Eagle chances so that the home team was held scoreless through the first 82 minutes, despite 16 shots.
Tindell created back-to-back shots on goal near the 75-minute mark but the KSU keeper recorded two strong saves to maintain the scoreless tie. After another shot from Parker, Tindell took advantage of a loose ball in the box in the 82nd minute.
Tindell fired with her right foot from the 10-yard mark but was off balance. The junior held control of the ball and cut left where she put a shot away with her left foot, this time beating the KSU keeper to the right and giving FGCU a 1-0 lead.
The Eagles maintained control of the ball in the remaining minutes and ultimately earned the 1-0 win. Tindell’s strike served as the game winner – her fourth of the season and 19th career game-winning goal.
With her eighth 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 46 goals and 111 points with one goal Sunday. Tindell now tops the all-time leaderboard by 18 goals and 28 points.
As a unit, the Eagles are now unbeaten in 24-straight Atlantic Sun Conference regular season games and 29-straight A-Sun regular season games at home, a streak that stands tied as the nation’s third best.
As the top two teams in the A-Sun, the Eagles will take on the Lipscomb Bisons Friday, Oct. 16 in Nashville. Lipscomb stands at 4-0 in A-Sun play after defeating UNF 2-0 Sunday afternoon. The Eagles and Bisons stand as the only two unbeaten teams in the league. The Green and Blue will then travel to Newark, N.J. for a Sunday afternoon contest against NJIT – the league’s newest member.