Lillback Leads Eagles over Stetson, Clinches ASUN East Division Title

Lillback Leads Eagles over Stetson, Clinches ASUN East Division Title

.FORT MYERS, Fla. – It took an extra 42 seconds, but the FGCU women’s soccer team (10-7-0, 7-2-0 ASUN) walked away with a 2-1 victory over Stetson (6-10-2, 3-5-1 ASUN), Saturday evening, and the ASUN East Division title.

Sophomore Louise Liillback (Stockholm, Sweden/Tibble Gymnasium) scored both goals for the Eagles, including the game-winner in the first minute of extra time. For the season, she now has 12 goals, including 11 in ASUN action.

The win gives the Eagles nine points in the ASUN East, tied at the top of the table with Liberty. However, because FGCU defeated the Flames last week, the Eagles clinch the #1 seed and will host the first two rounds of the ASUN Tournament, which begins on Friday.

ASUN East Division Standings










Team Pts Overall
FGCU* 9 9-7-0
Liberty* 9 11-6-1
Kennesaw State* 6 7-7-2
Jacksonville 7 7-8-3
North Florida 5 9-4-3
Stetson 4 6-10-2

 
“Huge win, just the rollercoaster of the game was unbelievable,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “I thought the first half was very good, we set tempo and scored a great goal. Credit to Stetson, they came out with a different mentality in the second half and wound up scoring a great goal. To pull it off, Louise saves the day, I’m proud of our ladies and we beat a really good team. We get to move on and it’s not going to get any easier. We need to buckle in and understand that we have a phenomenal opportunity in front of us.”

The Eagles outshot Stetson, 15-8 and had a 7-4 advantage in shots on goal while each team only earned one corner kick.

Junior Alyssa Abbondandolo (Cape Coral, Fla./Oasis HS), senior Ashlee Brentlinger (Middletown, Del./Padua Academy), graduate student Syniah Clark (Cape Coral, Fla./Ida Baker HS), and freshman Rosa Horskjaer (Copenhagen, Denmark/Falkonergardens Gymnasium) all picked up assists on the night.

Junior Katie Sullivan (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North HS/Creighton) was solid in goal, making three saves to pick up the victory.

The Eagles got on the board in the 19th minute as Brentlinger sent a ball forward toward Lillback. With the keeper charging to try to knock it away, Lillback beat her to the ball and flicked it past her and into the net.

The score remained the same into the second half, but coming out of the locker room, the Hatters were much more aggressive, taking four shots before scoring finding the equalizer on their fifth shot of the half in the 72nd minute. Sullivan made a great diving save on the initial shot by Georgia Place, but the rebound went right to Jackie Fiacco, who knocked it into the open net.

After Stetson tied the game, the Eagles became the aggressor, taking four shots in the next five minutes, but were unable to convert as the contest headed to overtime.

In the extra period, Clark sent the ball into the box where Horskjaer corralled it and found an open Lillback in front of the keeper. She collected it on her left foot and slotted it into the back of the net, setting off the celebration.

Most Career Goals








1.  66  Tabby Tindell*  2013-16
2. 28  Shannen Wacker  2011-14
3. 26 Louise Lillback 2019-present
4. 25  Evdokia Popadinova   2018-19
5. 24  Amber McCall  2007-09

 
Most Career Points













1.  162  Tabby Tindell*  2013-16
2. 83  Shannen Wacker  2011-14
3. 68 Lindsey Haw  2007-10
4. 67  Marjorie Boilesen  2017-19
5. 66 Paulina Speckmaier  2013-16
6. 59 Evdokia Popadinova  2018-19
7. 57 Amber McCall 2007-09
8. 56 Louise Lillback 2019-present
9. 53 Ally Kasun 2012-15
10. 44 Gina Petracco 2008-11

*ASUN Record
 
The win means that there will be at least one more home game for the FGCU’s five seniors, Brentlinger, Clark, Meagan Gruber (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS/Jacksonville), Kara Kyramarios (Titusville, Fla./Titusville HS), and Zoey Spitzer (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast HS), all of whom were honored before the game on Saturday night.

The Eagles will now advance to the ASUN Tournament and will host the first two rounds, which begins with a matchup against Bellarmine on Friday night at 7 p.m. Central Arkansas and Kennesaw State will battle each other in the first quarterfinal at Pickering Field at 4 p.m.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gYxwKWEKeA

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 184-69-27 (.704) overall record through the first 15 seasons of the program’s existence, including an 93-19-15 (.820) mark in the ASUN. Blankenship’s impressive career record of 424-140-38 (.735) over 31 seasons has come while leading FGCU, the University of Miami, Lynn University and St. Thomas University.

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IT TAKES A TEAM to achieve our newest goal – a $10 million campaign to address student-athlete needs in continued academic success, life skills, mental health, nutrition, and strength and conditioning as well as departmental needs in facility expansion and improvement as well as mentoring and leadership training for coaches and staff. The name embodies our mission and the purpose of the E.A.G.L.E. Campaign – Eagle Athletics Generating Lifetime Excellence. Join Our Team and pledge your gift today to help the Eagles of tomorrow!

 

#FEEDFGCU

FGCU Athletics sponsors events in November and April to benefit the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and the Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), FGCU Athletics’ charities of choice. For more information, including how to make a contribution, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and utilize the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.

ABOUT FGCU

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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