Women’s football set to welcome Florida State No.1 before heading to FAU
FORT MYERS, Florida – After battling the SEC enemy in Florida on Sunday, the going gets tougher for the FGCU women’s soccer team as the No.1 Florida State Seminoles come to town for a contest at Pickering Field . Kick-off on Thursday evening is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on Facebook Live. The Eagles will then travel to Boca Raton to face Florida Atlantic on Sunday at 4 p.m., the game being broadcast on CUSA.tv.
Against Florida on Sunday afternoon, the Eagles fought hard for 90 minutes, battling not only the Gators but heavy rains as well, putting up a valiant effort, but ultimately falling 1-0. The loss ended a 1-1 week for the FGCU as the Eagles beat the CRF, 3-2, on Wednesday.
Around ASUN, seven teams scored victories on Sunday, led by Jacksonville and Lipscomb, who each took the fifth win of the season to lead the East and West Divisions respectively.
Florida State enters the game unbeaten at 5-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country. His wins include four power-five opponents, including number 9 Texas A&M and Florida. The Seminoles have dominated their opposition, 16-3, so far this season.
This match will only be the second time the two teams face each other. The first time came in 2008 when the FSU beat the Eagles, 4-0, in Tallahassee in the FGCU’s second season only. It will also be the first time the Eagles face the nation’s No.1 team in program history.
FAU enters the competition with a 2-3-1 record and comes off a 2-0 victory over Troy. The Owls were chosen to win the US Conference Eastern Division ahead of the season.
Like the Seminoles, this will only be the second time the Owls face the FGCU. The first came last season, a goalless draw at Fort Myers.
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COACH JIM BLANKENSHIP
More than two decades of college coaching veteran, head coach Jim blankenship, who was named ASUN Coach of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2019, made FGCU women’s football an annual ASUN conference candidate and a thriving 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 winning seasons, culminating with the 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, becoming the first team in college history to qualify for the NCAA tournament. The Eagles won the 2014 ASUN tournament and hosted the first NCAA Championship event on campus. The Eagles won their fourth NCAA tournament appearance with the 2015 ASUN Tournament Championship and won their first NCAA game at USF in 2015 while finishing 24th nationally. In 2016, the Eagles made 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 football program to host four consecutive NCAA tournaments with another tournament title in 2017. Blankenship guided the FGCU to an overall record of 176-65-27 (. 707) in the first 15 seasons of the program’s existence, including an 86-17-15 (.801) mark in ASUN. Blankenship’s impressive career record of 416-136-38 (0.737) over 31 seasons came as he led the FGCU, University of Miami, Lynn University and St. Thomas University.
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FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 85 regular season conference and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Plus, in just ten seasons of DI playoff eligibility, the Eagles brought together 42 teams or individuals competing in the NCAA Championships. Eight FGCU programs placed in the top 25 in their respective sports, including women’s basketball (# 21, 2020-21), beach volleyball (# 20, 2021) and men’s football (2018 , 2019) and women’s football (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-2017, the Greens and Blues secured a sixth place, the best in the department, in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors Cup and a top 100 nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had the top seven ASUN and Florida State teams that won the NCAA Public Recognition Award for their rate of academic progress in their sport. FGCU also collectively achieved a record 3.50 GPA in the classroom in the fall semester of 2020 and outperformed the general undergraduate population for 23 consecutive semesters. The Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 semesters each saw another milestone, with all 15 programs achieving a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The Eagles also completed a record 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two finalists for the NACDA’s First Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.