Melancon’s Goal Lifts Eagles Past Liberty

Melancon’s Goal Lifts Eagles Past Liberty

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Needing a win to boost its postseason chances, the FGCU women’s soccer team (9-7, 6-2 ASUN) picked up a huge 1-0 victory at Liberty (10-6-1, 5-3 ASUN), Sunday afternoon.

Freshman Malaya Melancon (Naples, Fla./First Baptist Academy) provided the lone goal of the game with her first goal of the season in the 71st minute. She took a pass from junior Ashlee Brentlinger (Middletown, Del./Padua Academy) just outside the 18-yard box and fired a shot into the lower-right corner past the diving keeper.

“So unbelievably proud of this team and their resilience,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “To fight back and get a result on the road against a very good team like Liberty says a lot about the character of this team.”

FGCU outshot the Flames 10-6 and had a 4-2 advantage in shots on goal, while Liberty earned five corner kicks compared to FGCU’s one.

ASUN East Division Standings

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

Sophomore Louise Lillback (Stockholm, Sweden/Tibble Gymnasium) and junior Alyssa Abbondandolo (Cape Coral, Fla./Oasis HS) paced the Eagles with three shots to lead the team. In goal, junior Katie Sullivan (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North HS/Creighton) made two saves to earn her seventh shutout of the season.

The Eagles came out aggressive to start the game and had the first real threat of the game in the 21st minute when Lillback found Abbondandolo in the box, but her shot was blocked.

Coming out of the break with the game still scoreless, Liberty had one of its best chances of the game when it earned a free kick in the 60th minute just outside the box. Kasey Jamison fired a shot toward the top corner, but Sullivan punched the ball over the bar.

Melancon came into the game as a sub in the 67th minute and wasted no time as she gave the Eagles the lead just a few minutes later.

The Eagle defense stood strong the rest of the way as they allowed just one shot in the final 20 minutes to secure the victory.

FGCU will return to action on Saturday when they host Stetson on Senior Day. First kick from Pickering Field is set for 7 p.m with the ceremony honoring Syniah Clark, Meagan Gruber, Zoey Spitzer, Kara Kyramarios, and Ashlee Brentlinger occuring about 20 minutes before.

Most Career Goals

1.  66  Tabby Tindell  2013-16
2. 28  Shannen Wacker  2011-14
3. 25  Evdokia Popadinova   2018-19
4. 24  Louise Lillback  2019-present
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. 53 Ally Kasun 2012-15
9.  52 Louise Lillback 2019-present
10. 44 Gina Petracco 2008-11

For complete coverage of FGCU women’s soccer, follow the Eagles on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FGCU_WSoccer and online at You can also sign up to have news on FGCU women’s soccer or other programs delivered directly to your inbox by visiting
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 183-69-27 (.704) overall record through the first 15 seasons of the program’s existence, including an 92-19-15 (.820) mark in the ASUN. Blankenship’s impressive career record of 423-140-38 (.735) over 31 seasons has come while leading FGCU, the University of Miami, Lynn University and St. Thomas University.


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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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