FORT MYERS, Fla. – Senior Michelle Kuhnen capitalized on an Eagle corner kick with 51 seconds remaining in the game to give the FGCU women’s soccer team a 1-0 victory over SEC foe Arkansas in the final game of the Embassy Suites Kick-Off Classic on Sunday afternoon.
With just under a minute to play, the Eagles pressure on Arkansas’ side of the field paid off as redshirt junior Kathleen Hunter hit a corner kick from the right side of the field and that skipped through the goalie’s hands right to Kuhnen who then headed into the goal for her first goal of the season.
“Today was an absolute gut check. We talked about it beforehand that we’ve had spells in games when we’ve gotten out worked,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “We worked it out and had a good training session yesterday. Today we corrected those problems and had the will to win.”
The win is the program’s first against a BCS school as FGCU brings its record to 2-3, while Arkansas moves to 2-2. The Razorbacks defeated Miami, 1-0, on Friday in the opening game of the classic. Both teams went 1-1 on the weekend.
The teams played evenly in the opening 45 minutes with the score knotted at 0-0. The Eagles held a slight edge on shots, 8-6, but did not allow any Arkansas corner kicks and took two of their own.
The Razorbacks’ best chance came at the 65:58 mark when Taylor Green’s shot hit the post and a rebound shot by Andrea Carlson went just right of the net.
For the game, the Blue and Green held a slight edge in corner kicks, 4-2, but Arkansas outshot the Eagles, 15-13. Britni Williams made seven saves for the Razorbacks.
All-Tournament team selection junior Olivia Elias led FGCU with four shots on goal. Classmate goalkeeper Stephanie Powers tallied her 12th career shutout and second of this season while making five saves.
The Eagles take to the road for five consecutive away contests with the first two games taking place at the Black Knights Classic in West Point, N.Y. FGCU plays Vermont on Friday, Sept. 10 at 4:30 p.m. and faces Marist at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12.
F – Brittany Steinburch (Miami)
F – Jenci Villaverde (FGCU)
MF – Allie Chandler (Arkansas)
MF – Olivia Elias (FGCU)
MF – Kate Howarth (Miami)
MF – Kellyn Flanagan (Kent State)
D – Brittany Macdonald (Miami)
D – Laurel Pastor (Arkansas)
D – KC Correllus (FGCU)
GK – Vicki Alonzo (Miami)
MVP – Brittany Steinburch (Miami)