FORT MYERS, Fla. – Different opponent, same score. After playing to a 1-1 draw on Friday night, the FGCU women’s soccer team duplicated that result Sunday afternoon, this time against the Mercer Bears. With the tie, FGCU’s record now stands at 5-2-2 (0-0-2 A-Sun), while Mercer goes to 4-3-3 (1-0-1 A-Sun).
“I think this was a great result. Mercer is a quality team and they definitely came to play today; they put us on our heels right from the start. But we made some good adjustments, found a way to fight back, and I think that shows the kind of character our girls have.”
Playing in a light, but persistent rain, both sides fought hard through a scoreless first half. The Bears came out with a lot of pressure, taking the first four shots of the game. The Eagles would not register a shot until Olivia Elias put one on goal in the 35th minute.
Mercer got on the board first on a free kick, earned by Olivia Tucker. After Tucker was fouled, Heather Manting curled the free kick towards the far post and Tucker finished it off with a header into the top right corner, giving the Bears a 1-0 lead. Shortly thereafter, FGCU coach Jim Blankenship decided to take a gamble and put an extra forward on, in hopes of creating some more offense.
For the next ten minutes the Eagles were able to control the ball better than they had all day, but still couldn’t dent the scoreboard, as they only took one shot during that period. That all changed in the 83rd minute. Casey Lademann gained possession near midfield, and after making a great move around a Bears midfielder, she unleashed a near-perfect through ball towards Lindsey Haw, who was making a run straight down the middle of field. Haw showed great vision and awareness as she flicked the pass from Lademann directly to Stacey Payne, who worked her way around the Mercer defense, and slipped a shot past Jean Worts just inside the right post to even the score at 1-1. Both teams had chances during the two overtime periods, as the Eagles’ Amanda Goble took a shot from distance that required Worts to deflect over the net, while Mercer’s Emerald Phillips flicked a shot off an Eagle defender and then off the post. The ball appeared to roll onto the line, but never fully crossed.
Stephanie Powers played well in goal for the Eagles, earning 6 saves, while Jean Worts was equally impressive for the Bears, registering 5 saves. Shots were even at 13 apiece, with Mercer putting 7 shots on goal, and the Eagles putting 6 shots on goal. Olivia Tucker of Mercer led the way with 4 shots, all on goal, while the Eagles’ Olivia Elias led her team with 4 shots, 2 of which were on goal.
Next up for the Eagles is trip to Buies Creek, NC for a meeting with Campbell on Thursday, October 5th. The next home game for the women’s soccer team is Friday, October 17th, as the Eagles will host Lipscomb at 7:00 PM. That game will be a Family Weekend Special, as all Family Weekend guests will receive free admission as well as a give-away.