03 Oct Eagles Win Fourth Straight Behind Lillback’s Two Goals
FLORENCE, Ala. – The FGCU women’s soccer team (7-5, 4-0 ASUN) picked up its third shutout-victory in four games, Sunday afternoon, defeating North Alabama, 2-0.
Sophomore Louise Lillback (Stockholm, Sweden/Tibble Gymnasium) scored twice for the Eagles to give her five goals in four conference games and six overall this season.
“Proud of the team’s effort and how well they played defensively,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “Good results on the road this week which is not always easy.”
FGCU’s defense was strong all game, allowing just nine shots, just four of which were on goal while junior Katie Sullivan (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North HS/Creighton) made four saves in goal to pick up her fifth shutout this season. Offensively, the Eagles took 18 shots, led by Lillback with five.
Both teams took a couple of shots early in the contest before Lillback gave the Eagles the lead in the 15th minute. With the ball pinballing in the box, junior Alyssa Abbondandolo (Cape Coral, Fla./Oasis HS) found Lillback, who flicked the ball into the back of the net with the outside of her right foot.
4️⃣ goals in 4️⃣ ASUN games for @louiselillback!
— FGCU Women’s Soccer (@FGCU_WSoccer) October 3, 2021
The Lions (2-9-2, 1-3 ASUN) nearly responded a minute later when Kira Schuster took a shot, but Sullivan made a tremendous leaping save and knocked the ball over the crossbar.
Lillback had another chance before the break, but her shot in the 26th minute hit both posts before bouncing out.
In the second half, the Eagles defense got even stronger as they allowed just two shots which were both off target.
Lillback iced the game in the 89th minute with her second goal of the game. Freshman and fellow Swede Olivia Lindstedt (Gluumslov, Sweden/Malmo Idrottsgymnasium) sent a through-ball up to Lillback who gathered the ball and fired a shot into the top-left corner out of the keeper’s reach.
— FGCU Women’s Soccer (@FGCU_WSoccer) October 3, 2021
The Eagles will return to the pitch this week when they host Kennesaw State on Thursday in their first ASUN East Division game of the season. Kickoff from Pickering Field is set for 7 p.m.
For complete coverage of FGCU women’s soccer, follow the Eagles on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FGCU_WSoccer and online at www.FGCUAthletics.com. You can also sign up to have news on FGCU women’s soccer or other programs delivered directly to your inbox by visiting www.fgcuathletics.com/email.
COACH JIM BLANKENSHIP
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 181-67-27 (.703) overall record through the first 15 seasons of the program’s existence, including an 90-17-15 (.796) mark in the ASUN. Blankenship’s impressive career record of 421-138-38 (.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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