FGCU runs conference unbeaten streak to five games
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The FGCU women’s soccer team capped an unbeaten opening road weekend of Atlantic Sun action on Sunday afternoon with a 2-1 win over the University of North Florida at Hodges Stadium.
Redshirt junior Ashley Ciesielczyk’s (Oregon, Ohio/Clay HS) first career goal early in the second half at the 47:41 mark gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead and an insurance goal they would later need.
UNF pulled to within one, 2-1, in the 80th minute when Carolina Lencina dribbled through the FGCU defense and beat keeper Stephanie Powers (Seffner, Fla./Armwood HS).
The Blue and Green buckled down over the final 10 minutes, though, and didn’t allow the Ospreys to get off a shot or corner kick to preserve the win.
“Great result on the road and we showed a lot of character in the last 10 minutes,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “UNF scored a really good goal late in the game, but we didn’t give up. We stuck together and finished the game strong. After playing 110 minutes on Friday, I was worried about our legs down the stretch, but we showed a lot of experience.”
The win evens the Eagles’ record at 4-4-1 on the season, but more importantly improves them to 1-0-1 in the conference. FGCU also extended its unbeaten streak in A-Sun action to five games (4-0-1) dating back to last year and improved to 4-1-3 in its four conference opening weekends. FGCU has opened A-Sun play on the road the last two years, going 3-0-1.
The loss drops UNF to 2-7 on the year, as they suffer their first home loss (2-1) of the season. The Ospreys entered today’s game fresh off a 1-0 win over Stetson on Friday night at home.
Powers made just one save in net and fell just shy of recording her second straight shutout. Prior to UNF’s goal in the 80th minute, Powers and the FGCU defense hadn’t allowed a goal to an A-Sun opponent in four conference games.
FGCU took a 1-0 lead at the 16:43 mark when All-Conference defender KC Correllus (Merritt Island, Fla./Satellite HS/FSU) converted on a penalty kick. Like Ciesielczyk, the goal was the first of Correllus’ career and was made possible when freshman Jencilia Villaverde (Palm Bay, Fla./Bayside HS) was pulled down from behind on a breakaway in the goal box.
The penalty kick was the highlight an opening 45 minutes that featured a combined three shots from the two teams.
After UNF pressured with a pair of corner kicks in the opening two minutes of the second half, the Eagles responded by earning a corner kick of their own. Senior Caytlan MacKenzie (Calgary, Alberta/William Aberhart HS) drilled the kick into the box where it found the head of Ciesielczyk for the 2-0 advantage.
An evenly-played match saw both teams produced seven shots and two corners.
FGCU will closeout its five-game swing away from home next weekend with a Saturday (Sept. 25) showdown in Buies Creek, N.C. against Campbell. The Camels are 1-1 in the A-Sun through the first weekend after defeating USC Upstate, 2-0, and falling to East Tennessee State by the same score.