27 Aug Women’s Soccer Looks to Rebound Against Loyola Chicago
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s soccer team looks to get back on track on Sunday afternoon when they host Loyola Chicago. Kickoff from Pickering Field at the FGCU Soccer Complex is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be streamed on Facebook Live.
The Eagles are coming off a tough 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Lynn Fighting Knights. FGCU outshot Lynn, 19-8 and had a 16-1 advantage on corner kicks, but was unable to find the back of the net.
Freshman Ashley Labbe (Lake Worth, Fla./Suncoast HS) led the Eagles with three shots on goal while five others each had one. Katie Sullivan (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North HS/Creighton) and Mia Krusinski (Lewisville, Texas/Ursuline Academy of Dallas) each had one save in goal for FGCU.
Around the ASUN, three teams collected wins on Thursday. Lipscomb improved to 3-0 on the season with a 2-0 win at Miami (Fla.) while Kennesaw State and North Florida each picked overtime victories at the College of Charleston and FIU, respectively.
Before coming to Fort Myers, Loyola Chicago plays Friday evening at Florida Atlantic looking to make it three straight wins to start the season. The Ramblers opened the season with a 2-1 victory at Miami (Ohio) before triumphing over SIU Edwardsville, 3-0, this past Sunday. Megan Nemec leads Loyola with two goals while Olivia Knab has tallied two assists.
This will be the second time in program history that the Eagles will face the Ramblers. The first came in 2018 when the two teams played to a 1-1 draw in Chicago.
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 175-64-27 (.705) overall record through the first 15 seasons of the program’s existence, including an 86-17-15 (.801) mark in the ASUN. Blankenship’s impressive career record of 415-135-38 (.738) over 27 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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