FORT MYERS, Fla - On Monday, the FGCU women’s soccer team earned more preseason recognition as TopDrawerSoccer.com released its list of the Atlantic Sun Conference Top 20 Players to Watch. The Green and Blue landed four players on the list, matching ETSU for the most among the 10 league schools.
FGCU earned two of the top five spots on the list, as senior forward Ashley Ciesielczyk (Oregon, Ohio/Clay HS) and midfield classmate Danielle Faller (Elizabethtown, Pa./Elizabethtown Area HS) were ranked No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. Each entering their sophomore campaigns, midfielder Melissa Arnold (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek Regional HS) was slotted No. 14, while forward Shannen Wacker (Parker, Colo./Ponderosa HS) rounded out the FGCU players on the list at No. 15.
Recognized as the 2012 A-Sun Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, Ciesielczyk shined in 2011 as she earned A-Sun All-Conference second team honors. The defender started all 21 games, and finished with 18 points on three goals and a program-record 12 assists. Her 12 assists ranked first in the A-Sun and tied for 10th in the nation. The Oregon, Ohio native had two game-winning goals and four games with multiple assists, while being part of a backline that limited conference opponents to just one goal.
Named the A-Sun Freshman of the Year in 2009, Faller picked up her second postseason accolade in 2011 being named to the All-Conference second team. A leader in the midfield, the Elizabethtown, Pa. native logged the fifth-most minutes on the team (1,854) and finished the campaign with two goals and two assists.
Appearing in 20 contests with nine starts, Arnold was selected to the A-Sun All-Freshmen team last season after recording 11 points on four goals and three assists. The Sicklerville, N.J. native netted two goals over the first three games of her collegiate career, including the game winner at Davidson (Aug. 28), and also added the game-winning assist in the 1-0 double-overtime victory against Duquesne (Sept. 2).
Coming off a rookie campaign that featured an All-Freshmen team selection, Wacker looks to build upon a season in which she finished with 10 points on three goals and four assists. After scoring two goals, including the game-winner in double-overtime against Mercer (Nov. 6) in the A-Sun Championship to send FGCU to its first-ever NCAA tournament, the Parker, Colo. native was name A-Sun Tournament MVP.
A year after winning its first Atlantic Sun Tournament crown and second consecutive regular season title, the FGCU women’s soccer team was tabbed as the favorite to repeat as conference champs in the preseason coaches’ poll. In a vote conducted by the conference’s 10 head coaches, the Eagles received five first place votes and were predicted to bring home the conference regular season title and the A-Sun Tournament championship for the second consecutive year.
FGCU’s returning 12 players, including six starters, from last season along with 13 newcomers officially started the 2012 season on Wednesday, August 1 with an 8 a.m. practice. FGCU’s regular season non-conference slate features four teams that finished in the RPI top 100 a year ago and three opponents who advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles will open the regular season on Friday, Aug. 17 at home against Lynn University at 7 p.m.
FGCU season tickets can be purchased in person at the Alico Arena ticket office or by phone at 239-590-7145. Tickets are also available at www.FGCUathletics.com/tickets. The FGCU ticket office is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday. An adult ticket is $30, while a youth (3-12 years) ticket is $15. Single game tickets can also be bought at $6 for adults and $3 for youth. Groups of 10+ can get in for $3 a person. FGCU students and faculty/staff get in free with their student ID.
New to the 2012 season, FGCU Athletics is excited to offer the Half-Price Sunday Soccer Punch Pass for both adults and youths. This offer is available now through the ticket office and will be available through September 16. They will also be on sale at the ticket office on soccer game days.
TopDrawerSoccer.com A-Sun Top 20 Players to Watch
1. Katrina Frost – Forward – KSU
2. Carolina Lencina – Forward – UNF
3. Colleen O'Kennedy – Midfielder – Stetson
4. Ashley Ciesielczyk – Forward – FGCU
5. Danielle Faller – Midfielder – FGCU
6. Patricia-Anne Upson – Defender – Mercer
7. Lauren Hopfensperger – Forward – UNF
8. Ellis Parsons – Midfielder – ETSU
9. Emily Culbreth – Midfielder – Jacksonville
10. Jewelia Strickland – Defender – KSU
11. Nikki Atkinson – Goalkeeper – Mercer
12. Emilee Engelhaupt – Midfielder – ETSU
13. Kaitlyn Bassett – Forward – Jacksonville
14. Melissa Arnold – Midfielder – FGCU
15. Shannen Wacker – Forward – FGCU
16. Washida Blackman – Forward – Mercer
17. Samantha Kron – Defender – ETSU
18. Michele Calmeyn – Forward – USC Upstate
19. Amber Grose – Midfielder – Stetson
20. Lindsay Bickel – Midfielder – ETSU