Blankenship, Brown, Tindell Highlight Nine #ASunWSoc Award Winners
Thursday, October 31, 2013 | by Matt Moretti III (@Moretts13)
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MACON, Ga. – In the wake of completing an unbeaten Atlantic Sun slate and claiming a fourth-straight A-Sun regular-season championship, the FGCU women’s soccer team saw a league-high nine names appear on the list of A-Sun postseason honorees when the conference office announced the selections on Thursday. Head coach Jim Blankenship has been named by his peers as the Coach of the Year for a second-consecutive season, Brittany Brown claimed Goalkeeper of the Year honors and Tabby Tindell’s stellar rookie season has earned her the title of Freshman of the Year.

The Eagles had a program-record six players named to the A-Sun First Team. Along with Tindell (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic HS) and Brown (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena HS), freshmen Tessa Berger (Mahurangi East, New Zealand/Epsom Girls Grammar School) and Paulina Speckmaier (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep/University of Florida) earned their first postseason honors while sophomores Ally Kasun (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield HS) and Emma Blackwell (Jenks, Okla./Jenks HS) earn postseason honors for a second-consecutive season. Kasun was named to the First Team in 2012 while Blackwell was on the Second Team. Blackwell and Tindell were two of the three unanimous selections to First Team.

Juniors Shannen Wacker (Parker, Colo./Ponderosa HS) and Melissa Arnold (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek Regional HS) received recognition on the Second Team. Wacker was named to the First Team in 2012. Arnold returns to the postseason honors list for the first time since being named to the All-Freshman Team in 2011. 

FGCU’s First-Team honorees, Tindell, Berger and Speckmaier were also placed on the All-Freshman Team, giving the Eagles more first-year players on that list than any other school. Both Tindell and Speckmaier were unanimous selections. FGCU will return all eight players that received accolades this season to their roster in 2014.

“I am super excited for all of them and our program,” head coach Jim Blankenship stated. “Individually for those kids, they work so hard, they take pride in their games and to be recognized by their peers and coaches in their conference is just outstanding.”

Blankenship earns his second Coach of the Year award in the wake of guiding the Eagles to a 12-3-3 record and an unbeaten 7-0-2 mark in the A-Sun. FGCU is now 33-2-6 against A-Sun opponents since the beginning of the 2010 season. The Green and Blue will be looking to win a third-straight A-Sun Tournament Championship next weekend. 

Tindell has put together one of the great seasons in FGCU women’s soccer history. The Ocala, Fla. native has registered single-season records with 14 goals, seven of which came in conference play, and 31 points, both of which lead the A-Sun. She also leads the league in points per game (1.72) and goals per game (0.78) while ranking second in shots (63), shots per game (3.50) and game-winning goals (5). Tindell’s goal total currently ranks 14th in the nation while her points total sits 20th. The freshman has also claimed three A-Sun Player of the Week awards in 2013 which are the most by any FGCU player in a single season in program history.

“Tabby has been so important to us,” Blankenship added. “She’s been outstanding all season long. She has had a tremendous freshman year that hopefully she continues next week.”

Brown has been a consistent presence between the pipes for two seasons now. Since her arrival the Eagles are a combined 26-7-6 and 16-1-3 in conference play. Brown’s Goalkeeper of the Year nod comes after leading the conference in goals against average (0.82) and shutouts (7), five of which came against A-Sun opponents. Collectively, the Eagles only allowed four goals in nine games against A-Sun foes this season. She can also boast one A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week distinction this year. 

“It is nice to see Brown get rewarded for her hard work,” Blankenship said of his goalkeeper. “She might not get the most chances against her but she is always there for that crucial save when we need her most. It’s nice to have that comfort as a coach knowing that we have the kid back there that’s the best in the league.”

Berger and Blackwell have been the anchors of the FGCU defense this fall. Not only have they provided a shut-down presence on the back-line, the sophomore and freshman has elevated their offensive games as well. Blackwell has scored one goal this season while adding an assist. Berger has grown into an ever present threat to score on corner kicks both with her head and her feet. The New Zealand native has scored three goals this season while adding three assists.

Speckmaier has emerged as one of the greatest scoring threats in the league in her debut season. The Miami, Fla. native has scored five goals, the third most on the team behind Tindell and Wacker. Speckmaier has earned one A-Sun Player of the Week award and alongside Tindell creates one of the most dangerous scoring duos in the league. 

Kasun joins her teammates on the first team after taking a step back statistically in 2013. While she has only scored one goal while handing out five assists, the Lancaster, Pa., native has been the true facilitator of the offense in the midfield. Often winning 50/50 balls in the midfield, the FGCU offense begins with Kasun and that has led to a record number of goals for the Eagles this season. 

With six goals in 2013, Wacker has moved her career total to 20 goals. She becomes just the third player in program history to do so and is just four scores shy of the program record currently held by Amber McCall. With her selection to the Second Team this season, Wacker has now been named to an All-Conference team in each of the last three seasons. 

Arnold became the third FGCU defender to be named to the All-Conference lists this season. She joins the Second Team with Wacker without scoring a goal but handing out a team-high eight assists. That number ranks second in the conference behind A-Sun Player of the Year Sarah Zadrazil of ETSU. 

The Eagles have set program records this season in points (123), points per game (6.83), goals (41), goals per game (2.27), shots (342), shots per game (19.0), shots on goal (164) and shots on goal per game (9.11). There have been 18 different players record a point for FGCU this season. 

There is still at least one more game left this season when the Eagles host their semifinal match of the A-Sun Women’s Soccer Championship at the FGCU Soccer Complex on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. The Championship game will take place at the FGCU Soccer Complex on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ESPN3.

Player of the Year: Sarah Zadrazil, ETSU
Defensive Player of the Year: Ally Lee, Jacksonville
Goalkeeper of the Year: Brittany Brown, FGCU
Freshman of the Year: Tabby Tindell, FGCU
Coach of the Year: Jim Blankenship, FGCU

All-Atlantic Sun First Team
*D - Emma Blackwell, FGCU
*D - Ally Lee, Jacksonville
*F - Tabby Tindell, FGCU
GK - Brittany Brown, FGCU
D - Tessa Berger, FGCU
D - Alma Gardarsdottir, Kennesaw State
MF - Sarah Zadrazil, ETSU
MF - Ally Kasun, FGCU
MF - Paulina Speckmaier, FGCU
MF - Amber Gose, Stetson
F - Kaitlyn Bassett, Jacksonville
F - Ellen Lundy, Lipscomb

All-Atlantic Sun Second Team
GK - Meghan Dorsey, North Florida
D - Hannah Short, ETSU
D - Melissa Arnold, FGCU
D - Brittney Reed, Kennesaw State
D - Carlotta Fennefoss, Lipscomb
MF - Sarah Moghadas, Jacksonville
MF - Nicole Calder, Kennesaw State
MF - Lauren Gassie, Mercer
F - Shannen Wacker, FGCU
F - Katrina Frost, Kennesaw State
F - Washida Blackman, Mercer
F - Carolina Lencina, North Florida

All-Atlantic Sun Freshman Team
*F - Tabby Tindell, FGCU
*MF - Paulina Speckmaier
*F - Ellen Lundy, Lipscomb
MF - Jenny Potl, ETSU
D - Tessa Berger, FGCU
MF - Mary Sturgis, Jacksonville
D - Brittney Reed, Kennesaw State
GK - Olivia Sturdivant, Kennesaw State
GK - Anna Buhigas, Lipscomb
D - Carlotta Fennefoss, Lipscomb
MF - Katelyn Newton, Northern Kentucky

*Denotes Unanimous Selection