22 Oct Women’s Soccer Welcomes Stetson for Regular Season Finale
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s soccer team concludes the regular season, Saturday night as they host Stetson at Pickering Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
With a win or tie against the Hatters, FGCU will clinch a spot in the ASUN tournament next week. A win by the Eagles combined with a loss by Kennesaw State means the Eagles would host the first two rounds of the championship.
Saturday night is also senior night for the Eagles as they will honor Ashlee Brentlinger (Middletown, Del./Padua Academy), Kara Kyramarios (Titusville, Fla./Titusville HS), Zoey Spitzer (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast HS), Meagan Gruber (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS/Jacksonville), and Syniah Clark (Cape Coral, Fla./Ida Baker HS) before the evening’s contest.
FGCU is coming off a 1-1 week, taking down Liberty, 1-0, on Sunday after falling to Jacksonville by the same score on Thursday. Freshman Malaya Melancon (Naples, Fla./First Baptist Academy) scored the game-winning goal against the Flames, her first goal of the season.
Junior Katie Sullivan (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North HS/Creighton) made two saves at Liberty to earn her seventh shutout of the season which is top-25 in the nation.
For the season, sophomore Louise Lillback (Stockholm, Sweden/Tibble Gymnasium) leads the Eagles with 10 goals, second-most in the ASUN and top-30 in the country. For her career, Lillback is now in the top-five in FGCU history in goals with 24 and top-10 in points with 52.
Most Career Goals
Most Career Points
Entering the last day of the regular season, every team in the ASUN East is still alive for a playoff spot while no teams have clinched a spot yet. Kennesaw State will play Liberty while Jacksonville battles North Florida on Saturday. Both matches start at 1 p.m. meaning FGCU will know exactly what they need to accomplish to clinch a spot in the ASUN tournament well before the game kicks off.
ASUN East Division Standings
Entering Saturday’s match, Stetson sits in fifth place in the division with four points and an overall record of 6-9-2. In order to clinch an ASUN tournament spot, the Hatters would have to win and also get some help in other games as well.
Stetson is in this position thanks to a 3-2 win over Jacksonville on Sunday. Chloe Washington scored twice in the win, including the game-winner in the 87th minute. Washington is now tied for the team lead in goals with four alongside Jackie Fiacco.
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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 183-69-27 (.704) overall record through the first 15 seasons of the program’s existence, including an 92-19-15 (.790) 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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