Blankenship, Ciesielczyk Highlight Nine FGCU A-Sun Postseason Honorees
Friday, October 26, 2012 | by Matt Judd
Photo by Jim Dostie
Photo by Jim Dostie

FORT MYERS, Fla. – After winning its third straight Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title last Sunday with its win over Mercer, the FGCU women’s soccer team saw a league-high nine players earn Atlantic Sun postseason honors on Friday, highlighted by Jim Blankenship winning Coach of the Year honors and senior Ashley Ciesielczyk (Oregon, Ohio/Clay HS) being named the Defensive Player of the Year.

Joining Ciesielczyk on the A-Sun All-Conference first team are sophomore Shannen Wacker (Parker, Colo./Ponderosa HS) and the only unanimous choice freshman Ally Kasun (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield HS). FGCU landed four on the second team with seniors Danielle Faller (Elizabethtwon, Pa./Elizabethtown Area HS) and Jennifer Crittenberger (Lighthouse, Point, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons HS) being joined by freshmen Emma Blackwell (Jenks, Okla./Jenks HS) and Shea Rhoney (Lithia, Fla./Newsome HS). Kasun, Blackwell and Rhoney doubled-up on the All-Freshmen team and were joined by keeper Brittany Brown (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena HS), while Wacker’s second award came from being named to the All-Conference Academic squad.

The nine postseason honorees marks the second straight year FGCU has produced the league’s most award winners, equaling last year’s total.

The 2012 season has been arguably Blankenship’s best coaching job, as the program creator was faced with the challenge of replacing a graduating class of nine seniors, highlighted five that were first team All-Conference honorees in 2011, including two that had won the A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year accolade during their career.

This year’s roster features six upperclassmen and 19 underclassmen, but the Eagles have extended their double-digit win seasons to six with a 12-3-3 record so far this season, dating back to the inaugural 2007 campaign. FGCU is 69-28-13 all-time under Blankenship and is 24-2-4 in its last 30 A-Sun regular season games dating back to the end of the 2008 season, a span in which the Eagles have out-scored their opponents, 69-6.

Ciesielczyk is the third different player in program history to be named the A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year and marks the third consecutive year that an FGCU player has won the award. She was named to the A-Sun All-Conference second team in 2011 and was picked the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year at the start of this season. Ciesielczyk leads the team and the A-Sun in assists with 10 and has helped FGCU post nine shutouts in 18 games this year. She is FGCU’s all-time leader in assists with 28, which ranks her tied for seventh in the A-Sun record books.

The only unanimous choice to the first team and one of four on the All-Freshmen squad, Kasun is second on the team in points (19), tied for second in goals (6) and third in assists (7). Her most recent goal came in the regular season finale against Mercer in the second half which proved to the game-winner that sent the Eagles to their third consecutive regular season crown and the No. 1 seed in the Conference Tournament.

Wacker was also named a unanimous pick to the All-Academic team. This is the third time Wacker has received a postseason accolade after being named to the All-Freshman Team and A-Sun Tournament MVP last season. Wacker leads the team and is second in the A-Sun in points (23) and goals (10) while holding a 3.61 GPA in Resort & Hospitality Management. Wacker was named to the National Team of the Week by during this year as well as a two-time Conference Player of the Week by College Sports Madness and the A-Sun. In a three-game stretch, Wacker scored seven goals including a hat trick against Northern Kentucky. She has tallied a program-record five game-winning goals and is tied for second all-time in goals in a season, just one goal away shy of the top spot.

Blackwell has played in all 18 games and is a force in the backfield for FGCU, helping produce nine shutouts and only allowing 15 goals this season, which ranks second in the A-Sun. Blackwell also added two goals and an assist this season, all of which came in the 2-1 victory over Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Crittenberger helped limit the opposition to only 15 goals this season while helping to produce nine shutouts. This is the second postseason accolade Crittenberger has received after being named to the All-Academic Team last season.

Faller picked up her second-straight All-Conference second team selection this year. She was a key contributor from the midfield position and has started all 75 games in her four year career, which ranks first all-time in the FGCU record books. This is the fourth postseason award Faller has received after being named Freshman of the Year and placed on the All-Freshman Team back in 2009.

Rhoney tallied multiple honors in her first year, being named to the All-Conference second team and All-Freshman team as well as garnering an A-Sun Player of the Week honor. Rhoney is tied for second on the team in goals (6) with classmate Kasun, third in points (16) and tied for fourth in assists (4) after playing in all 18 games this season. Rhoney set a career-high, scoring both goals in the 2-0 shutout of in-state rival Stetson (Oct. 13).

Brown has put together a stellar season in net for the Eagles and was recognized as a three-time Defensive Player of the Week by the A-Sun. After being named the starter in game three, Brown went on to post an 11-2-3 record, with a 0.65 goals-against average (GAA) and an .863 save percentage with seven shutouts. Brown leads the A-Sun in shutouts and is second in the conference in GAA and save percentage.

The Eagles won the regular season title with the best record in conference action (12-3-3, 7-1-1) and will host the A-Sun tournament semifinals (Nov. 2) and championship game (Nov. 4) at the FGCU Soccer Complex. FGCU will play the winner of the ETSU/Jacksonville matchup Friday, November 2 at 7:00 p.m.

Player of the Year: Ramey Kerns, ETSU
Defensive Player of the Year: Ashley Ciesielczyk, FGCU
Goalkeeper of the Year: Sarah Plantz, USC Upstate
Freshman of the Year: Sarah Zadrizil, ETSU
Coach of the Year: Jim Blankenship, FGCU
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Katrina Frost, Kennesaw St.

A-Sun All-Conference First Team
GK: Sarah Plantz, USC Upstate
D: Ashley Ciesielczyk, FGCU
D: Alexandra Lee, Jacksonville
D: Devon Fry, Mercer
MF: Sarah Zadrazil, ETSU
MF: Ally Kasun, FGCU*
MF: Patricia-Anne Upson, Mercer
F: Ramey Kerns, ETSU
F: Shannen Wacker, FGCU
F: Carolina Lencina, UNF

*-Unanimous Choice

A-Sun All-Conference Second Team
GK: Maggi Cropp, Mercer
D: Hannah Short, ETSU
D: Emma Blackwell, FGCU
D: Jennifer Crittenberger, FGCU
D: Kelsey Barr, Kennesaw St.
MF: Danielle Faller, FGCU
MF: Emily Culberth, Jacksonville
MF: Jewelia Strickland, Kennesaw St.
MF: Thea Linkfield, UNF
F: Shea Rhoney, FGCU
F: Kaitlyn Bassett, Jacksonville
F: Tess Patton, Mercer
F: Megan Frye, Northern Kentucky

**-A tie in voting resulted in a 13-person all-conference second team
*-Unanimous Choice

A-Sun All-Freshmen Team
MF: Sarah Zadrazil, ETSU*
MF: Ally Kasun, FGCU*
F: Danielle Gray, Kennesaw St.*
GK: Maggie Cropp, Mercer*
MF: Mara Keomanivane, Stetson*
D: Hannah Short, ETSU
D: Emma Blackwell, FGCU
GK: Brittany Brown, FGCU
F: Shea Rhoney, FGCU
F: Marie Weckhurst, Jacksonville
GK: Jill D’Amico, Jacksonville

*-Unanimous Choice

All-Academic Team
F: Katrina Frost, Kennesaw St.*
F: Ramey Kerns, ETSU*
F: Shannen Wacker, FGCU*
MF: Becca Massip, Jacksonville*
MF: Kathryne Husted, UNF*
D: Ellis Parsons, ETSU
MF: Jewelia Strickland, Kennesaw St.
MF: Jessica Cataldo-Ramirez
MF: Lauren Gassie, Mercer
MF: Danielle Hesse, Mercer
MF: Patricia-Anne Upson, Mercer

*-Unanimous Choice