27 Oct Top-Seeded Women’s Soccer Set to Open ASUN Tournament
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s soccer team opens the ASUN Tournament, Friday evening when they will take on Bellarmine. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Pickering Field as the Eagles will host the first two rounds of the tournament.
The winner of Friday’s match will take on the winner of the #2W Central Arkansas and #3E Kennesaw State match, which will be played at 4 p.m. on Friday. All of the games will be open to fans and will additionally be streamed on Facebook Live. For further details regarding the 2021 ASUN Women’s Soccer Championship, click here.
The Eagles earned the top-seed in the East with a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over Stetson, Saturday night. Sophomore Louise Lillback (Stockholm, Sweden/Tibble Gymnasium) scored both goals in the game for FGCU, which not only clinched the division, but also secured her selection as ASUN Player of the Week.
For the season, Lillback has 12 goals, 11 of which have come in ASUN play. She is also top-ten in the country in game-winning goals with five.
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
In goal, junior Katie Sullivan (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North HS/Creighton) picked up her ninth win of the season and lowered her goals against average to 1.13. In ASUN games this season, she has allowed just 0.55 goals per game, tied for the best in the conference.
In the latest RPI rankings, FGCU comes in at #92, the third-highest in the ASUN, behind #75 Liberty and #86 North Florida, but ahead of #105 Lipscomb, who is the top-seed on the other side of the bracket.
With its 10th win of the season on Saturday, head coach Jim Blankenship has now led FGCU to double-digit wins in all but one season in program history. The only exception was last year in the COVID-abbreviated spring season, which still saw the Eagles go 7-3-2.
Bellarmine enters the ASUN Tournament as the #4 seed from the west division. The top-three teams in each division automatically earned a berth in the postseason, while the last two spots could come from either division. Because Bellarmine beat Jacksonville, the #4 team in the east, earlier this season, the Knights earned their spot in the bracket.
Sarah Buse leads Bellarmine with four goals and four assists while Regan Kommor is just behind her with three goals and three assists. In goal, Elyssa Francis has started 13 games for the Knights and is allowing under one goal per game.
This is the second time this season Bellarmine will play in Fort Myers as the two teams met back on September 26, with the Eagles winning that match, 2-0.
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 (.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 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.
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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