FORT MYERS, Fla. –
A pair of second half Kent State goals separated by just two minutes helped the visiting Golden Flashes rally to defeat the FGCU women’s soccer team, 2-1, in the Embassy Suites Kick-Off Classic at the FGCU Soccer Complex on Friday night.
The loss dips the Eagles’ record to 1-3, while the win evens Kent State’s mark at 1-1-1.
“We played really well in the first half. We limited them to one chance and that was in the last five minutes,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “In the first 20 minutes of the second, we played well, but we made a mistake in the back and that cost us the first goal. Similar to Miami, we lost our concentration and gave up two quick goals. We need to keep our concentration for the full 90 minutes.”
The pace of play belonged to FGCU in the opening 45 minutes, as the Blue and Green limited the Golden Flashes to one shot and no corner kicks in the first half.
The Eagles took a 1-0 lead at the 22:38 mark when freshman Jenci Villaverde tallied her first collegiate goal. The play started with redshirt junior Katie Donnellan heading a ball over the KSU defense and connected with a streaking Villaverde who beat the keeper high.
The 1-0 advantage stood going into halftime, as the Eagles held their fourth straight opponent scoreless in the first half and produced a 4-1 shot advantage.
After manufacturing just one shot in the first half, Kent State began to shift momentum over the first 20 minutes of the final frame with six shots and three corner kicks.
The continuous pressure eventually paid off for Kent State in the 77th minute, as leading scorer Jessacca Gironda beat the FGCU defenders to a bouncing through-ball and was able to blast it high to tie the game at 1-1.
Just two minutes later, Kellyn Flanagan gave Kent State its first lead of the game, 2-1, on a shot from 20 yards out. Flanagan broke out of a swarm and appeared to catch FGCU off-guard with a shot that curled inside the right post.
FGCU was able to apply some pressure over the final 10 minutes, but only produced one shot.
Redshirt junior Stephanie Powers made her fourth consecutive start in goal and made three saves.
For the game, Kent State held a slim 10-9 advantage in shots that was bolstered by a 9-5 edge in the second half.
The tournament will resume on Sunday at 11 a.m. with Miami (2-2-1) taking on Kent State followed by FGCU’s showdown against SEC foe Arkansas (2-1) at 1 p.m. The Razorbacks defeated the Hurricanes, 1-0, in the first game on the day.