FORT MYERS, Fla. – Fueled by the emotion of a pregame ceremony honoring its 10-member senior class, the FGCU women’s soccer team used five first half goals and six in the game by its seniors to roll to a 9-0 Atlantic Sun win over USC Upstate on a perfect Friday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
FGCU’s senior class combined for a total of 22 points on the night, scoring for six of the nine goals while passing out 10 assists. The shutout was the 37th posted by the four-year class and the seventh in a row for the Eagles.
The Eagles are now 10-3-2 on the year and, more importantly, 5-0-1 in league action heading into Sunday’s 1 p.m. home tilt against fellow A-Sun unbeaten ETSU (6-0-0). FGCU’s victory gives it 16 points on the year, clinching a spot in the six-team conference tournament in the program’s first year of postseason eligibility.
The win also extended FGCU’s A-Sun unbeaten streak to 19 games (16-0-3) and clinched the program’s fifth straight season of double figure wins since its inaugural 2007 campaign.
Fort Myers native Gina Petracco (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) recorded the third multi-goal game of her career and second of the season with six points on two goals and two assists. Petracco’s six points are the third-best single-game total in program history, while she now has a team-high six goals on the year.
One record that did fall on the night was the single-season record for assists, which redshirt junior Ashley Ciesielczyk (Oregon, Ohio/Clay HS) broke in the 29th minute of the contest when she passed out her 10th helper of the season as the Eagles took a 3-0 lead. Ciesielczyk finished the night with three assists to bring her single-season record total to 11 and also scored the first goal of the game in the eighth minute. She now has a team-high 17 points.
A total of five players had a goal and an assist for the Eagles, who finished just a goal shy of equaling the school record. FGCU poured in 10 goals in the program’s first-ever game against Alabama State on Aug. 31, 2007, and 10 against, oddly enough, USC Upstate on Oct. 25, 2009.
Fittingly, it was the seniors who got the Eagles off to the hot start as a trio of the pregame honorees combined to give the Green and Blue a 1-0 lead in just the eighth minute. The Eagles went on to score five goals over the first 45 minutes, out-shooting the Spartans 18-2 along the way.
It took just 16 seconds into the second half for FGCU to put its sixth goal up on the board, as senior Olivia Elias (Coral Springs, Fla./American-Heritage Delray HS) ignited a four-goal period for the home team. Petracco added her team-leading sixth goal of the season in the 50th minute, while senior Amanda Goble (Lutz, Fla./Land O’Lakes HS) converted a penalty kick at 76:59 and freshman Kayla Hoffay (McKees Rock, Pa./Montour HS) concluded the scoring with her first career collegiate goal.
Seven of the 10 FGCU seniors had at least one point on the night, as Brianna McCall (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS) scored her third career goal against USC Upstate, while Stacey Payne (Coral Springs, Fla./American-Heritage Delray HS) and Brittany Burt (St. Petersburg, Fla./Northeast HS/USF) each passed out an assist. Senior defenders KC Correllus (Merritt Island, Fla./Satellite HS/FSU) and Kat Hunter (Safety Harbor, Fla./Clearwater Central Catholic HS) helped the Eagles post their A-Sun leading ninth shutout of the season while limiting Upstate to three shots.
Senior keeper Stephanie Powers (Seffner, Fla./Armwood HS) was forced to make just one save in net en route to picking up her 28th career shutout, moving her just one away from equaling the A-Sun record of 29.
Sunday’s game is “Kick it for the Cure” as we promote breast cancer awareness. Anybody wearing PINK receives FREE admission. Fans are encouraged to bring photos of loved ones who have been affected by cancer and add them to our commemorative wall located at the entrance to the FGCU Soccer Complex. Also, Radiology Regional will be giving screenings in their MOBILE MAMMO – Call 239-936-2316 today to schedule your appointment.