FORT MYERS, Fla. – After a two-hour weather delay and more than 100 minutes of play, FIU’s Chelsea Leiva scored in the 103rd minute of the second overtime to top the FGCU women’s soccer team, 1-0, in the Eagles’ season opener on a rainy Thursday night at FGCU Soccer Complex.
The win marks the first of the FIU’s young season, moving its record to 1-2, while the Eagles open the 2010 campaign 0-1.
Leiva received a through-ball from freshman Nicole Diperna, took several touches up the field toward the box and then chipped it past junior keeper Stephanie Powers to break the deadlock.
FIU and FGCU warmed up, but immediately after the coin toss, both teams were forced to leave the field and seek shelter due to lightning. Two hours and 16 minutes later, the teams were back on the field ready for action.
The teams fought for possession much throughout the first half. With roughly 15 minutes to go, FIU’s April Perry received a cross from the left side, but her header was saved by Powers.
FGCU had its best chance with 12 minutes left in the first half when senior Caytlan MacKenzie hit a hard shot to the right corner, but FIU keeper Melanie Raimo made a diving save to keep the Eagles off the board.
Redshirt junior Katie Donnellan almost took the game for the Eagles as the first shot of the second overtime sailed just past the left post.
Despite edging FIU in shots 6-3, in the first half, FGCU only outshot the Panthers 10-9. Both keepers saw action with Powers saving five while the Panthers’ Ramio saved four.
The Blue and Green take to the pitch on Sunday against MEAC foe Delaware State at 1 p.m. at the FGCU Soccer Complex. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased through the FGCU Ticket Office in Alico Arena either in person or by phone at (239) 590-7145. Tickets are also available on www.FGCUathletics.com/tickets. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for youth (Ages 3-18). Admission for FGCU faculty and staff along with students is free.