FORT MYERS, Fla. – After finishing non-conference action with a 3-4 overall record, the FGCU women’s soccer team prepares for the opening weekend of its Atlantic Sun slate beginning with Florida rivals Jacksonville and UNF.
FGCU, picked to finish second in the Atlantic Sun in the preseason coaches’ poll, travels to Jacksonville to play the Dolphins on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Ashley Sports Complex. The Blue and Green then travel across the city to face off with UNF on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Hodges Stadium. The Jacksonville game is available through ASun.tv or FGCUATHLETICS.com.
Entering the program’s fourth year in the A-Sun, the Eagles are 2-0-1 all-time in conference openers and an impressive 3-1-2 during the opening weekend of A-Sun action. FGCU also began conference play on the road last season, picking up a 2-1 win at Mercer and a 1-0 shutout victory at Kennesaw State. Friday marks the third time in four years that the Blue and Green have opened A-Sun regular season play away from home.
Last weekend, the Eagles opened the Black Knights Classic with a 2-0 victory over first-time opponent Vermont on Friday before falling to Marist, 1-0, on Sunday. Freshman Jenci Villaverde, redshirt junior KC Correllus and junior Olivia Elias earned spots on the All-Tournament Team.
Villaverde paces the Eagles with seven points on two goals and three assists in the first seven games of her collegiate career. Sophomore Jessica Swartzentruber and redshirt junior Katie Donnellan each have four points apiece. Junior Stephanie Powers has logged more than 600 minutes between the pipes and has a 1.03 goals against average, good for fourth in the conference. Six other Eagles have notched a goal while four others have one assist on the stat sheet.
Jacksonville enters conference play with a 4-3-1 record and most recently defeated Francis Marion, 3-0, on Sunday. Redshirt junior Liz Fink leads the Dolphins with eight points off three goals and two assists, while sophomore Lisa Hensley is right behind her with three goals and one assist. The reigning A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week junior Alexa Rooney has been the main keeper for JU, collecting 54 saves in seven starts. The Dolphins were tabbed to finish tied for fourth in the conference with Mercer and had senior Jessica Hurtado named as the Preseason Player of the Year. The Dolphins own a 2-0-1 all-time advantage against FGCU. The teams battled to a double-overtime, 1-1, tie last season.
The Ospreys, predicted to finish ninth in the league, have a 1-6 record in non-conference action and have only played one game on their home field, a 4-3 win against Francis Marion. UNF has lost every game except for one by a one-goal margin. Sophomore Michele Larrinaga and freshman Lauren Hopfensperger each have two goals on the season while six other ospreys have added a goal. UNF and FGCU split the all-time series the first two years before playing to a double-overtime scoreless draw last season.
FGCU continues its conference schedule against Campbell on Saturday, Sept. 25. The Eagles kick off in Buies Creek, N.C. at the Eakes Athletic Complex at 2 p.m.