Women’s Soccer Set to Host FIU

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s soccer team returns home on Sunday as they welcome Florida International to Pickering Field. The Eagles are 2-4 on the season and are coming off a tough 5-0 loss at #8 Florida State while FIU is 2-3 and have not played an official match since last Sunday when they fell to Lipscomb. Its game on Thursday Alabama A&M was deemed against a no contest in the 22nd minute due to lightning.

In its last match against the Seminoles, FGCU hung with the defending national champions for the first 45 minutes as the game remained scoreless at the break. However, a big second half from FSU turned to game into a one-sided affair.

The Eagles will be looking to make it three straight wins at home as they have taken down FAU and Southern in their previous two contests in Fort Myers. The Green and Blue picked up their first shutout of the season against the Owls as senior Grace Paradise scored in the 89th minute to give the Eagles the 1-0 victory. With her six saves in goal, graduate student Katie Sullivan was named ASUN Goalkeeper of the Week.

on the season, junior Louise Lillback leads the team with seven points on three goals and an assist. She recently picked up ASUN Player of the Week honors after scoring a goal against both Southern and UCF while also adding an assist against the Jaguars. It was th fifth time in her career she earned the recognition, which ties her for third most all time in ASUN history behind Sarah Collins of Stetson (6x) and former FGCU standout Tabby Tindell (12x). Her goal against the Knights was also the 29th of her career which puts her in second place all-time in FGCU history.

Most Career Goals

one. 66 Tabby Tindell 2013-16
2 29 Louise Lillback 2019-present
3. 28 Shannen Wacker 2011-14
4. 25 Evdokia Popadinova 2018-19
5. 24 Amber McCall 2007-09

Most Career Points

one. 162 Tabby Tindell 2013-16
2. 83 Shannen Wacker 2011-14
3. 68 Lindsey Haw 2007-10
4. 67 Marjorie Boilesen 2017-19
5. 66 Paulina Speckmaier 2013-16
6. 63 Louise Lillback 2019-present
7. 59 Evdokia Popadinova 2018-19
8. 57 Amber McCall 2007-09
9. 53 Ally Kasun 2012-15
10. 44 Gina Petracco 2008-11

Before the game, FGCU will hold a 9/11 tribute and moment of remembrance with the help of San Carlos Fire Department Station 53.

Statistical Leaders
In addition to Lillback leading the Eagles in goals, sophomore Ashley Labbe has also contributed with two goals and two assists while Scarpelli has a team-high three assists. Paradis, freshman Kate Russelland redshirt-freshman Lindsey Saad have also found the back of the net this season.

Season Outlook
The Eagles return just nine players from last year’s squad that won the ASUN East Division, but that includes ASUN Preseason Player of the Year lillback as well as ASUN All-Preseason members Scarpelli and Labbe. FGCU 19 newcomers adds a mixture of freshman and transfers, to the 2022 sqaud that was picked second in the ASUN preseason poll.

Lillback is the reigning ASUN Player of the Year after scoring 12 goals last season, including a conference-high 11 in ASUN competition. Scarpelli returns to anchor the back line after helping the Eagles to seven shutouts a year ago while also adding a team-high three assists. Labbe returns to her spot on the outside after being named All-ASUN First Team despite playing just 13 games before suffering a season-ending injury.

In goal, senior Katie Sullivan returns for her second season with the Eagles after starting 15 games in 2021. In nine conference games, she allowed just five goals while making 26 saves with an .839 save percentage.

New Faces
Among the influx of new players include graduate transfers Libby Helverson (Drake) and Margaret Berry (Boston). Helverson was named to the Midwest All-Region Third Team as well as the Missouri Valley Conference First-Team after a standout season with the Bulldogs in the midfield while Berry brings a wealth of experience after playing on the back line for the Terriers for four seasons . The Eagles will also rely on some of the 11 true freshmen, which includes local product Kendal Gargiula (Bishop Verot).

Scouting the Competition
FIU enters the game with a 2-3 record which matches the amount of wins the Panthers had a season ago. Nikole Solis leads the team and is 13th in the country with five goals on the season while Dominique Marcelli paces the team with two assists.

In the all-time series against FIU, the Eagles lead 12-1-1 and have won 10 straight contests against the Panthers.

For complete coverage of FGCU women’s soccer, follow the Eagles on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FGCU_WSoccer and online at www.FGCUAthletics.com. You can also sign up to have news on FGCU women’s soccer or other programs delivered directly to your inbox by visiting www.fgcuathletics.com/email.

A veteran of over two decades in collegiate coaching, head coach Jim Blankenship, who was named the ASUN Coach of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2019, has built FGCU women’s soccer into a yearly contender in the ASUN Conference and a rising program in the South Region in just 13 seasons. Blankenship started the program in 2007 and has since guided the Eagles to 13 double-digit win seasons, culminating with ASUN Regular Season Championships in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. In 2011 and 2012 he also led the Eagles to back-to-back ASUN Tournament titles as they became the first team in the history of the university to make it to the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles went on to win the 2014 ASUN Tournament and hosted the first NCAA Championship event on campus. The Eagles earned their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance with the 2015 ASUN Tournament Championship and won their first NCAA game at USF in 2015 while finishing 24th in the nation. In 2016, the Eagles made it three-consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament with a third-straight ASUN Tournament title. A year later, the Eagles became the first ASUN women’s soccer program to make four-straight NCAA Tournaments with another tournament title in 2017. Blankenship has guided FGCU to a 186-73-28 (.697) overall record through the first 16 seasons of the program’s existence, including an 93-19-15 (.791) mark in the ASUN. Blankenship’s impressive career record of 426-144-39 (.732) over 32 seasons has come while leading FGCU, the University of Miami, Lynn University and St. Thomas University.


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FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 92 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 15 seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just 11 seasons of DI postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 45 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. In 2022, the men’s golf team became the first program to earn at at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. Eight FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 20, 2021-22), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2022) and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as four of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Green and Blue posted a department-best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top-100 showing nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and state of Florida best seven teams earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate in their sport. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.50 GPA in the classroom in the fall 2020 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 26 consecutive semesters. The past five semesters (Fall 2019 – Spring 2022) saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher cumulative team GPA. The Eagles also served an all-time high 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.