11/4/2011 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 637
|Stats at a Glance||UNF||FGCU|
|Shots (on Goal)||9 (5)||11 (6)|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – After winning its second straight regular season crown to earn its first-ever berth into postseason play, the FGCU women’s soccer team will play host to the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament semifinals and championship this weekend at the FGCU Soccer Complex. The top-seeded Eagles will take on fifth-seeded North Florida on Friday at 7 p.m. following second-seeded ETSU against sixth-seeded Mercer at 4 p.m.
Deemed eligible for postseason play prior to the start of the season, FGCU earned the right to host the tournament after going 12-4-2 in regular season and 7-1-1 in A-Sun action to finish in a three-way tie for first place with ETSU and Jacksonville. The Eagles were awarded the top seed due to their 1-0-1 record against the other two first place finishers. FGCU was ruled eligible for postseason play in all 14 of its Division I sports on August 12th after going through the transitional period the previous four years.
Friday will mark the sixth meeting between FGCU and UNF with the Eagles holding a 4-0-1 edge in the all-time series. The Green and Blue defeated the Osprey’s, 4-0, earlier this season in the A-Sun opener for both squads at the FGCU Soccer Complex. A-Sun Scholar Athlete of the Year and first team All-Conference choice Gina Petracco (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) scored a pair of goals, while redshirt junior Ashley Ciesielczyk (Oregon, Ohio/Clay HS) added three of her league-high 12 assists.
Last week, the Eagles racked up numerous postseason awards, including Stephanie Powers’ (Seffner, Fla./Armwood HS) A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year accolade and Petracco winning the inaugural Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. Powers leads the conference with 11 shutouts, highlighted by a streak of 908 minutes without allowing a goal during the season, and a 0.70 goals against average. Petracco has a 4.0 GPA in public relations and is on track to become FGCU’s first 4.0 student-athlete.
The Green and Blue led the A-Sun with five first team All-Conference honorees with Powers joining senior defender KC Correllus (Merritt Island, Fla./Satellite HS/Florida State) as unanimous choices to the postseason squad. For Correllus, it is her fourth A-Sun All-Conference honor, which has only been accomplished on nine occasions. Petracco, senior Olivia Elias (Coral Springs, Fla./American Heritage-Delray HS) and senior Kathleen Hunter (Safety Harbor, Fla./Clearwater Central Catholic HS) rounded out the first team award winners.
The Eagles had another breakout regular season that produced a nine-game shutout streak from Sept. 18 through Oct. 21 and continued a conference unbeaten streak that ended at 21 straight, which is good for the second longest streak in A-Sun history. FGCU has won 10 or more games in all five years of the programs existence under head coach Jim Blankenship.
Ciesielczyk leads the team with 18 points on the strength of a school-record 12 assists that rank tied for fourth in the nation. Ciesielczyk also landed on the A-Sun All-Conference second team. Petracco has saved her best offensive season for last, leading the team with seven goals while ranking second in points with 17. Elias is right behind Petracco with 16 points on six goals and four assists, while freshman Melissa Arnold (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek Regional HS) rounds out the double-digit point scorers with four goals and three assists.
UNF reached the semifinals last Saturday after a thrilling 1-0 victory against fourth-seeded Belmont at Rose Park in Nashville, Tenn. in the quarterfinal round. The Ospreys received the game-winning goal from Kathryn Shafer, which was also her first career goal. North Florida’s Carolina Lencina has five goals and five assists to her credit this season en route to landing on the All-Conference first team.
Tickets can be purchased in-person at the FGCU Ticket Office or by calling 239-590-7145. Tickets will also be on sale at the gate starting one-hour prior to kick-off, but only cash is accepted. Reminder this is a postseason tournament, tickets for all attendees (including faculty and staff) are $6 for adults $3 for children. Groups of 10 or more receive a 50% discount.
A-Sun TV, live audio, live stats and in-game Twitter updates (@FGCUEagles), box scores and recaps will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com. The Atlantic Sun Championship game is slated for Sunday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m.