FGCU Opens A-Sun Play With 0-0 Draw at Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The FGCU women’s soccer team couldn’t find the back of the net for the second straight game, but was able to post its third shutout in the last four games to earn a 0-0 tie against Jacksonville on the opening Friday night of Atlantic Sun action at Ashley Sports Complex.
For the game, the Eagles fired 30 shots, including nine by senior Caytlan MacKenzie (Calgary, Alberta/William Aberhart) and eight more by junior Olivia Elias (Coral Springs, Fla./American Heritage-Delray). Over the last two games, FGCU has gotten off a total of 50 shots.
“We played very well and we created great scoring opportunities,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “We had a few shots in the second half that got by the goalie, but their defenders did an excellent job of clearing the ball off the line. It’s important to get points on the road and we did that tonight against a good team. I’m pleased with the effort and heart the kids played with.”
The tie is the first of the season for the Eagles who watched their record move to 3-4-1 on the year, while the Dolphins now sit at 4-3-2. FGCU remains unbeaten in A-Sun openers through four years in the conference with a 2-0-2 record.
Junior keeper Stephanie Powers (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) continued her strong play in net, anchoring a FGCU defense that posted its fourth shutout of the season and the third 0-0 tie in program history. Powers made six saves on the night, highlighted by two in the second overtime.
“Stephanie did a great job of getting us organized in the back and communicating with the defenders,” Blankenship said. “Jacksonville runs a system that keeps you on your toes and we were very well organized.”
After being out-shot 11-6 in the opening 45 minutes, FGCU controlled much of the pace in the second half and applied a ton of pressure to the tune of 22 shots and nine corner kicks.
Out of those 22 second half shots, seven were on goal, including a near-goal by freshman Jencilia Villaverde (Palm Bay, Fla./Bayside) in the 84th minute. After her first shot was blocked by a Jacksonville defender, Villaverde was able to head the ball over Dolphins’ keeper Alexa Rooney, but the ball was cleared by another defender right before it could cross the goal line. Villaverde’s pair of shots were a part of a five-minute sequence in which the Eagles had five shots and a pair of corner kicks.
A total of 17 different field players saw time for the Eagles, as neither team had much left in the tank during the 20 minutes of overtime.
FGCU will stay in Jacksonville to conclude the opening weekend of A-Sun action on Sunday. The Eagles will take on UNF (2-6), who defeated Stetson, 1-0, tonight at home. Gametime on Sunday at Hodges Stadium is slated for 1 p.m.
NOTES: The overtime appearance was the first for FGCU since its season-opener against FIU …. the Eagles are now 1-3-7 all-time in overtime games … FGCU is now 0-2-2 against Jacksonville … the 0-0 draw marked the second straight year the two teams have tied … the shutout was the 13th of Powers’ career … FGCU’s two yellow cards in the matched the entire season total.
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