(10-8-3, 4-3-2 A-Sun)
(13-3-3, 7-0-2 A-Sun)
11/8/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 756
, TINDELL, Tabitha)
|Stats at a Glance||MER||FGCU|
|Shots (on Goal)||4 (1)||11 (6)|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – For the third-consecutive season, the FGCU women’s soccer team (13-3-3, 7-0-2 Atlantic Sun) earned the right to play for the A-Sun Championship on its home field, defeating Mercer, 2-0, on Friday night. The Eagles will meet 2-seed Jacksonville University, who defeated Kennesaw State in the first semifinal match, on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Shannen Wacker (Parker, Colo./Ponderosa HS) put the Eagles on the board first with a well-constructed score in the 37th minute. Ashley Parks (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette HS) played the ball to Tabby Tindell (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic HS) who slid the ball through defenders to the feet of Wacker who from the left-post-side of the goal fired her shot low past the keeper into the right side of the net.
In the second half it would be who else but the A-Sun Freshman of the Year, Tindell, providing the insurance for the Green and Blue in the 65th minute when she took a cross from Wacker and tapped home goal number 15 on the season.
"We've been blessed to be here," head coach Jim Blankenship added. "We have worked hard all year to get to this point and these girls showed why they love to play at home tonight. They know our opponent on Sunday will present a challenge but they seem prepared for it and they showed that tonight."
The Eagles controlled the pace in the first half, putting constant pressure on the Mercer defense but were unable to generate many scoring opportunities with their possession. Julia Roddar (Falun, Sweden/Shattuck-St. Mary’s Academy/Wisconsin) created a brilliant chance when she carried the ball from the left side into the box and hammered a shot across her body that would carom of the corner where the left post meets the crossbar. Shortly after Roddar’s try, Kaitlin Parker (Palm Harbor, Fla./Clearwater Central Catholic HS) created her own chance that would once again ring off the crossbar.
FGCU ultimately took a 1-0 lead and a 5-2 shot advantage into the halftime break. Four different Eagles would register a shot.
In the second half the Green and Blue continued to put the pressure on Mercer. A-Sun Goalkeeper of the Year Brittany Brown (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena HS) only needed to make one save in this one and it was a misdirected header by her own teammate. The Bears simply had no answer for the stout FGCU defense.
FGCU would finish with just 11 shots in the win, the lowest shot total in any win for the Eagles this season. The Green and Blue have now improved to 34-2-6 against A-Sun opponents since the beginning of the 2010 season. That number includes a 22-0-1 mark at home and extends to a 26-game unbeaten streak at home against A-Sun foes.
With the victory FGCU also remains undefeated in the A-Sun tournament. Since becoming eligible for the A-Sun tournament in 2011, the Eagles have gone 5-0, outscored their opponents by a combined score of 8-1 and have held the opposition scoreless for 388:12 minutes and counting.
Wacker’s goal was the 21st of her career, leaving her just three goals shy of matching the program record of 24 held by Amber McCall. Both Tindell and Wacker have gotten hot at the right time. The pair has combined to score 14 of FGCU’s 16 goals over the last five games. Wacker has scored five goals over those five games having only scored twice in the previous 14 contests. Tindell, after breaking out with four goals against Idaho State, scored once in the next game then went on a six-game scoring drought before pumping in eight tallies over the last five games.
To claim a third A-Sun title the Eagles will have to get past the Dolphins of Jacksonville who gave FGCU all it could handle in the regular season meeting. FGCU opened its A-Sun schedule in 2013 with JU at the FGCU Soccer Complex and Dolphins jumped ahead in the 27th minute but goals inside the final two minutes of each half would propel the Green and Blue to the victory. The rematch will be the first time these two have met in the A-Sun Championship game and the second time they’ve met in the postseason. The first came in the form of a 2-0 FGCU victory in the semifinals of the 2012 tournament.
Any student of an A-Sun institution will be admitted for free with a valid university I.D. FGCU faculty and staff will be admitted for free as well. Youth ages 14 and under will be admitted for free if they are wearing a soccer jersey or green or blue. Youth tickets will cost $3 while adult tickets will be $6.