Women’s football to a scoreless draw with Austin Peay
FORT MYERS, Florida. – The FGCU women’s soccer team battled with Austin Peay for 90 minutes on Sunday, playing to a scoreless draw. The Eagles pick up a point in the ASUN standings and move to 6-1-1 and 8-5-1 overall while Austin Peay is now 1-5-3 in the league and 3-8-6 overall.
“Anytime you play a conference game, it’s going to be tough,” the head coach said Jim Blankenship. “We had our chances but in the end we couldn’t convert. We’ll take the point and move on to Stetson now.”
The Eagles outshot Austin Peay 25-10 and had a 7-4 shots advantage. The Eagles also had five corner kicks without conceding any.
Graduate student Katie Sullivan (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North HS/Creighton) made four saves for his fifth shutout of the season.
Three defenders – graduate Marguerite Berry (Holly, Michigan/Fenton HS/Boston, Graduate Libby Helverson (West Des Moines, Ill./Valley HS/Drake), and senior Lilly Lakich (Lithia, Fla./Newsome HS) on his first career start — played the full 90 minutes to contribute to the shutout as well.
After a scoreless first half, the Eagles increased the pressure in the second stanza, outscoring the Governors, 14-4, but still couldn’t find the back of the net.
First-year student Erika Zschuppe (Kirtland, Ohio/Kirtland HS) had the most chances in the game for the Eagles with eight shots, including seven in the second half. She also had the best luck of the day in the 70se minute, firing a shot that was stopped by the APSU keeper before hitting the crossbar and bouncing down, but not over the line.
Despite the tie today, the Eagles still control their own destiny by hosting the first two rounds of the playoffs. If they win their final two games, they’ll have 25 points which, at worst, would be tied with Lipscomb for second place. However, with FGCU’s victory over the Bisons on Thursday, the Eagles hold the tiebreaker.
The Eagles will now turn their attention to Stetson on Wednesday in the penultimate game of the regular season. This contest is the rescheduled game that was postponed on October 1st due to the effects of Hurricane Ian. DeLand’s kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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 receive news about FGCU women’s soccer or other programs straight to your inbox by visiting www.fgcuathletics.com/email.
COACH JIM BLANKENSHIP
A veteran of more than two decades in collegiate coaching, head coach Jim Blankenship, who was named ASUN Coach of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2019, has made FGCU women’s football an annual ASUN Conference contender and a growing program in the Southern Region in just 13 seasons. Blankenship started the program in 2007 and has since guided the Eagles to 13 double-digit winning seasons, culminating in ASUN Regular Season Championships in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. 2011 and 2012, he also led the Eagles to back-to-back ASUN Tournament titles by 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 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 three straight 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 host four consecutive NCAA tournaments with another tournament title in 2017. Blankenship guided the FGCU to an overall record of 192-74-29 (. 700) in the first 16 seasons of the program’s existence, including a 99-20-16 (.793) mark in ASUN. Blankenship’s impressive career record of 432-145-40 (.733) over 32 seasons came while coaching FGCU, University of Miami, Lynn University and St. Thomas University.
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ABOUT THE FGCU
FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 92 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 15 seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just 11 seasons of DI playoff eligibility, the Eagles brought together 45 teams or individuals competing in NCAA championships. In 2022, the men’s golf team became the first program to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Eight FGCU programs ranked in the top 25 nationally in their respective sports, including women’s basketball (#20, 2021-22), beach volleyball (#20, 2022) and men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s football. (2018) as four of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Vert et Bleu posted the department’s best sixth place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top 100 nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and Florida State’s top seven teams won the NCAA Public Recognition Award for their rate of academic progression in their sport. FGCU also collectively achieved a record 3.50 classroom GPA in the fall 2020 semester and outperformed the general undergraduate college population for 26 consecutive semesters. The last five semesters (Fall 2019 – Spring 2022) saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a cumulative team average of 3.0 or higher. The Eagles also served an all-time high of 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two finalists for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.