FGCU Earns Share of A-Sun Regular Season Crown; Falls to Belmont
Sunday, October 23, 2011 | by Justin Glover (@Jglove3)
FGCU (12-4-2, 7-1-1 A-Sun)
Belmont (8-7-1, 5-3-1 A-Sun)
10/23/2011 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 366
BEL36:08LAUFER,Spencer (LIN,Sari )
FGCUPOWERS, Stephanie90:0011
Stats at a GlanceFGCUBEL
Shots (on Goal)19 (9)6 (2)
Corner Kicks21

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Despite falling to Belmont, 1-0, on the road in the regular season finale, the FGCU women’s soccer team clinched a share of the Atlantic Sun regular season championship Sunday afternoon at Rose Park.

FGCU finished the regular season with a 12-4-2 record and a share of first place in the A-Sun with a 7-1-1 mark. The Eagles won the tiebreaker over ETSU and Jacksonville, who also shared a piece of the regular season crown. FGCU was awarded the No. 1 seed due to going a combined 1-0-1 against ETSU and Jacksonville. With the No. 1 seed in their first-ever Atlantic Sun Tournament appearance, FGCU will receive a bye in the quarterfinal round and play host to the A-Sun semifinals and championship game at the FGCU Soccer Complex on November 4th and November 6th.

The Green and Blue will play the winner of the quarterfinal game between fifth-seeded North Florida at fourth-seeded Belmont. The Eagles will host the winner at 7:00 on Friday, Nov. 4, while the 4 p.m. game will feature ETSU vs. the winner of sixth-seeded Mercer at third-seeded Jacksonville.

“We are really excited to be hosting the A-Sun tournament at our place,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “I love the way we play at home and hope we can carry the momentum over to the tournament beginning on November 4.”

Senior defender KC Corellus (Merritt Island, Fla./Satellite HS/Florida State) is a part of an FGCU defense that has limited A-Sun opponents to just one goal in conference play and is glad to be heading home for the tournament.

“We started the season with the expectation that we wanted to repeat as A-Sun regular season champions and we are glad we at least got a share of the title,” said senior KC Correllus. “We have a lot of confidence playing at home, so it is always good to host the tournament in front of our fans and we hope to bring the title to Fort Myers.”

With the loss against Belmont, the Eagles streak of nine straight shutouts and their 21-game conference unbeaten streak (18-0-3) has come to an end. Ironically, Belmont was the last A-Sun team to defeat FGCU on Oct. 16, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn.

“I am disappointed with the result but you have to give credit to Belmont, they played well today,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “We gave up one chance and their girl buried the goal but we just couldn’t come through with the equalizer.”

Belmont scored the game-winning goal in the 37th minute, after goalie Sari Lin punted the ball down field that sprung Spencer Laufer who beat senior keeper Stephanie Powers (Seffner, Fla./Armwood HS) for her first goal of the season. The goal was the first allowed by FGCU in 908 minutes dating back to the second half of the Florida game on Sept. 11.

In the first half, FGCU had a bunch of opportunities for the equalizer with the best chance coming in the 43rd minute. Senior Olivia Elias’ (Coral Springs, Fla./American Heritage-Delray HS) shot on goal was stopped by Bruins’ keeper Sari Lin. The Eagles finished the half with four shots on frame but couldn’t strike through with a goal.

Just one minute into the second half, FGCU quickly had a chance when freshman Shannen Wacker (Parker, Colo./Ponderosa HS) and redshirt junior Ashley Ciesielczyk (Oregon, Ohio/Clay HS) had shots on goal, but Bruins’ keeper Ashley Hudak made the saves.

Ciesielczyk had another opportunity in the 66th minute attempting a shot on goal, but Belmont’s third different keeper Nicole Berner made the stop.

The Green and Blue held a 19-6 shot advantage over the 90 minutes of action, including nine shots on goal.