Brentlinger, Spitzer Named to ASUN All-Academic Team

Brentlinger, Spitzer Named to ASUN All-Academic Team

ATLANTA, Ga. – FGCU women’s soccer seniors Ashlee Brentlinger (Middletown, Del./Padua Academy) and Zoey Spitzer (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast HS) have been named to the ASUN All-Academic Team as released by the league office, Thursday afternoon. This is the second time in each of their careers that they have earned a spot on the 11-woman team.

Brentlinger carries a 4.0 GPA in biology with minors in chemistry and psychology while Spitzer has a 3.95 GPA in economics.

“As a student-athlete, it’s always been student first for us,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. For them to excel the way they have and the commitment they’ve made in the classroom, I’m really proud of them. It’s such a prestigious honor they will carry the rest of their lives.

Brentlinger played in all 17 games for the Eagles, making 16 starts in the midfield. She led the team with three assists while also adding a goal, the game-winner at FIU earlier this season. In addition to her 4.0 GPA off the field, she has also served as a three-year member of the Eagles Council Student-Athlete Advisory Board and was in the inaugural class of prestigious E.A.G.L.E. Leadership Institute. This is the second time that Brentlinger has been named to the ASUN All-Academic Team, having done so in 2019 as well.

For Spitzer, this is the second-straight season she has been recognized with a spot on the team.  She has started all 17 games for the Eagles this year, scoring two goals, including the game-winner at FAU in September. Off the field, she has also been a three-year member of Eagles Council SAAC, serving as Vice President last year.

Both players have contributed from the midfield to a defense that allowed just 0.55 goals per game in ASUN play, the best mark in the conference.

FGCU has been represented on the ASUN All-Academic team since first becoming eligible for the recognition in 2011. This year’s All-Academic Team averaged a 3.91 GPA and featured five 4.0 marks, led by Liberty’s Kasey Jamieson, who was named the ASUN Women’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second-straight season.

Name                                    GPA       School                    Class    Major
Kasey Jamieson^                  3.99       Liberty                         Sr.         Exercise Science
Sarah Buse                             3.89       Bellarmine                  Sr.        Health Science
Elise Markley^                       3.94       Bellarmine                  Sr.        Nursing
Emma Hawkins                    3.42       Central Arkansas       Jr.        Exercise Science
Anika Sultan                          4.00      Central Arkansas       Sr.        MBA
Ashlee Brentlinger^         4.00      FGCU                          Sr.       Biology
Zoey Spitzer^                     3.95       FGCU                          Sr.       Economics
Hayley Dekker                      4.00       Kennesaw State         Jr.        Exercise Science
Kendall Higgs                       4.00       Kennesaw State         Sr.        Applied Stats & Analytics
Dylan Pixton                         4.00       Kennesaw State         Jr.        Criminal Justice
CJ Graham                             3.87       Lipscomb                     Fr.       Nursing
^ – denotes a two-time selection to the All-Academic Team

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A veteran of over two decades in collegiate coaching, head coach Jim Blankenship, who was named the ASUN Coach of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2019, has built FGCU women’s soccer into a yearly contender in the ASUN Conference and a rising program in the South Region in just 13 seasons. Blankenship started the program in 2007 and has since guided the Eagles to 13 double-digit win seasons, culminating with ASUN Regular Season Championships in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. In 2011 and 2012 he also led the Eagles to back-to-back ASUN Tournament titles as they became the first team in the history of the university to make it to the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles went on to win the 2014 ASUN Tournament and hosted the first NCAA Championship event on campus. The Eagles earned their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance with the 2015 ASUN Tournament Championship and won their first NCAA game at USF in 2015 while finishing 24th in the nation. In 2016, the Eagles made it three-consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament with a third-straight ASUN Tournament title. A year later, the Eagles became the first ASUN women’s soccer program to make four-straight NCAA Tournaments with another tournament title in 2017. Blankenship has guided FGCU to a 184-69-27 (.705) overall record through the first 15 seasons of the program’s existence, including an 93-19-15 (.791) mark in the ASUN. Blankenship’s impressive career record of 424-140-38 (.736) over 31 seasons has come while leading FGCU, the University of Miami, Lynn University and St. Thomas University.

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FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 85 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just ten seasons of D-I postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 42 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 21, 2020-21), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2021) and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Green and Blue posted a department-best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top-100 showing nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and state of Florida best seven teams earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate in their sport. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.50 GPA in the classroom in the fall 2020 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 23 consecutive semesters. The 2019 Fall, 2020 Spring, 2020 Fall, and 2021 Spring semesters each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher team GPA. The Eagles also served an all-time high 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.

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