Eagles Picked to Repeat as Conference Champs in A-Sun Preseason Poll
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 | by Mike Hill (@mike_hill84)

FORT MYERS, Fla. – A year after winning its first Atlantic Sun Tournament crown and second consecutive regular season title, the FGCU women’s soccer team was tabbed as the favorite to repeat as conference champs in the preseason coaches’ poll released on Wednesday afternoon by the league office. Senior Ashley Ciesielczyk (Oregon, Ohio/Clay HS) was named the A-Sun Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, marking the second straight year and FGCU student-athlete has won the award that began in 2011.

In a vote conducted by the conference’s 10 head coaches, the Eagles received five first place votes and were predicted to bring home the conference regular season title and the A-Sun Tournament championship for the second consecutive year.

Five different teams received a first place vote with Jacksonville (85) occupying the second spot followed by ETSU (80), Kennesaw State (63) and UNF (63). The top three teams were separated by just 11 points. Four A-Sun teams finished with double-digit wins in 2010, while five had a .500 overall record or better.

The Eagles, who have boasted a player on the preseason team in four of the last five seasons, were one of four schools to place multiple players on the preseason All-Conference team. Ciesielczyk and senior Danielle Faller (Elizabethtown, Pa./Elizabethtown Area HS) represented FGCU on the 11-member squad.

Ciesielczyk, who was voted as the 2012 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, shined in 2011 as she earned A-Sun All-Conference second team honors. The defender, who started all 21 games, had a breakout junior season with 18 points on three goals and a program-record 12 assists. Her 12 assists ranked first in the A-Sun and tied for 10th in the nation. The Oregon, Ohio native had two game-winning goals and four games with multiple assists, while being part of a backline that limited conference opponents to just one goal.

Faller picked up her second postseason accolade in 2011 being named to the All-Conference second team after being named Freshman of the Year in 2009. A leader in the midfield, she logged the fifth-most minutes on the team (1,854) and finished the campaign with two goals and two assists.

FGCU’s returning 12 players, including six starters, from last season along with 13 newcomers officially started the 2012 season on Wednesday, August 1 with an 8 a.m. practice. FGCU’s regular season non-conference slate features four teams that finished in the RPI top 100 a year ago and three opponents who advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles will open the regular season on Friday, Aug. 17 at home against Lynn University at 7 p.m.

FGCU season tickets can be purchased in person at the Alico Arena ticket office or by phone at 239-590-7145. Tickets are also available at www.FGCUathletics.com/tickets. The FGCU ticket office is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday. An adult ticket is $30, while a youth (3-12 years) ticket is $15. Single game tickets can also be bought at $6 for adults and $3 for youth. Groups of 10+ can get in for $3 a person. FGCU students and faculty/staff get in free with their student ID.

New to the 2012 season, FGCU Athletics is excited to offer the Half-Price Sunday Soccer Punch Pass for both adults and youths. This offer is available now through the ticket office and will be available through September 16. They will also be on sale at the ticket office on soccer gamedays.  

2012 Women's Soccer Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team
Pos. Name (Class) School
GK Nikki Atkinson (Jr.) Mercer
D Ellis Parsons (So.) ETSU
D Ashley Ciesielczyk (Sr.) FGCU
D Jewelia Strickland (So.) Kennesaw State
MF Danielle Faller (Sr.) FGCU
MF P.A. Upson (Sr.) Mercer
MF Colleen O'Kennedy (So.) Stetson
F Lauren Hopfensperger (Jr.) North Florida
F Carolina Lencina (Jr.) North Florida
F Katrina Frost (So.) Kennesaw State
Preseason Player of the Year: Katrina Frost, F, Kennesaw State
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Ashley Ciesielczyk, D, FGCU
Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year: Nikki Atkinson, GK, Mercer


2012 Atlantic Sun Women's Soccer Preseason Poll
Rank School (First Place Votes)
1. FGCU (5) 91
2. Jacksonville (1) 85
3. ETSU (2) 80
4. Kennesaw State (1) 63
  North Florida 63
6. Mercer 46
7. Stetson 37
8. Northern Kentucky 35
9. Lipscomb (1) 34
10. USC Upstate 16
Tournament Champion: FGCU (5 Votes)