26 Oct Lillback Named ASUN Player of the Week
FORT MYERS, Fla. – For the second time this season, sophomore Louise Lillback (Stockholm, Sweden/Tibble Gymnasium) has been named the ASUN Women’s Soccer Player of the Week.
Lillback scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Stetson, Saturday evening in the regular-season finale. Needing a win to clinch a berth in the ASUN Tournament and the top-seed in the East Region, she came through when it mattered most.
“I’m proud of her,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “Obviously knowing the situation was just a huge moment for us and our season and the leadership she showed was outstanding. Big-time players make big-time plays.”
She scored her first goal in the 19th minute, beating the Hatter goalkeeper to the ball and flicking it past her and into the back of the net. Stetson tied the match with under 20 minutes to go in regulation, but in overtime, Lillback ended the game quickly with a goal just 42 seconds into the extra period.
On the season, Lillback now has 12 goals, 16th most in the nation. She also has five game-winning goals, which is top-10 in the country.
Lillback is also now third all-time in FGCU history with 26 goals and eighth with 56 points after her performance on Saturday.
Most Career Goals
Most Career Points
This is the third time an Eagle has been named ASUN Player of the Week this season as junior Alyssa Abbondandolo earned the honor earlier this year as well in addition to the two by Lillback.
Lillback and the rest of the Eagles are back in action this weekend when they host the ASUN Tournament’s first two rounds. The quarterfinals are on Friday when the Eagles will battle Bellarmine at 7 p.m.
ASUN Weekly Awards
Co-Players of the Week – Louise Lillback, FGCU and Rebekah Earnest, Liberty
Defensive Player of the Week – Shelby Craft, Lipscomb
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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 182-68-27 (.706) overall record through the first 15 seasons of the program’s existence, including an 91-18-15 (.794) mark in the ASUN. Blankenship’s impressive career record of 422-139-38 (.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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