FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s soccer team (4-2-2, 2-2-0 ASUN) will conclude the home portion of their regular season this weekend with a game against Jacksonville (1-7-1, 1-2-1 ASUN) on Sunday , 28th March. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. in the FGCU Soccer Complex and the game will be a white-out. Participation is open to around 500 fans, all of whom must remain masked and socially distant at all times. For those unable to attend, there will be a stream on the team’s YouTube page.
The game on Sunday is preceded by a ceremony on Seniors’ Day, at which the head coach is present Jim Blankenship and its employees will honor Kavina Ganeshan (Pickering, Ontario / Pickering HS), Cassidy Morgan (Weston, Fla./Cypress Bay HS) and Natalie Schaps (Guatemala City, Guatemala / American School of Guatemala). Since joining the team as newcomers in 2017, the trio has helped the FGCU win two regular season titles, an ASUN tournament crown, and an NCAA tournament course.
The FGCU will come into play looking for their second consecutive conference win after beating Stetson 3-0 at The Nest last weekend. Sophomore Louise Lillback (Stockholm, Sweden / Tibble High School) helped get the Eagles past the Hatters and scored two goals in eleven shots. For her efforts, she was named ASUN Player of the Week, making her the third player to be recognized for one of the league’s weekly awards this season. Lillback was included in the ranking by Junior Alyssa Plentiful (Cape Coral, Fla./Oasis HS) who scored her fourth goal of the year. Three different Eagles collected as senior assists during the game Zoey Spitzer (Naples, Florida / Gulf Coast HS), Ganeshan and PhD student Meagan Gruber (Long Beach, Calif. / Woodrow Wilson / Jacksonville) were all credited.
Lillback is currently second among the league leaders in both goals (seven) and points (14). With seven goals this year and the additional seven from her rookie season, she is currently 10th of all time in the history of the FGCU (14). Junior Kara Kyramarios (Titusville, Fla./Titusville HS) also checks the ASUN statistical rankings as their three assists are most of the other conference players. It is put on the list by both freshmen Ashley Labbe (Lake Worth, Fla./Suncoast HS) and Alyssa Wilson (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS), who leads all newcomers to the league with two assists each.
During the last game against Stetson, newcomer Mia Krusinski (Lewsiville, Texas / Ursuline Academy of Dallas) has recorded the fifth shutout of their rookie season. She is only the second player in program history to score five shutouts in her first eight games. She joins former Eagle Brittany Brown (2012-15) and is currently linked with Libertys Melody Jayroe to lead the conference. Krusinski takes second place in ASUN both in goals against the average (0.71) and in savings (0.793).
The Dolphins lost two hours of overtime to leaders UNF, which they suffered on the Ospreys’ home field last Saturday. In the game, which was decided in the 104th minute, Jacksonville originally took an early 1-0 lead after Emma Wood scored her first goal of the season within the first 15 minutes.
Wood is one of three dolphins to find the back of the net this year, along with sophomore Shelby Brim (two) and newbie Gabby Holtrop (one). As a team, Jacksonville was beaten by opponents 16: 4 in 2021.
Sunday’s game is the second the two teams have played this season. Earlier this year, the Eagles made their way to Jacksonville and claimed a 4-0 win (March 6). The result extended the FGCU’s record against Jacksonville to 9-2-6 all-time, as well as the team’s current winning streak in five regular season games against the Dolphins.
South Division Ranking
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North Division Ranking
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Wednesday March 24th
Florida 2, UNF 0
Thursday March 25th
Kennesaw State 1, Liberty 0
Sunday March 28th
Freedom at Bellarmine – noon
Lipscomb, Kennesaw State – 1 p.m.
Jacksonville at FGCU – 1 p.m.
Stetson at UNF – 6 p.m.
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COACH JIM BLANKENSHIP
A veteran of over two decades in college coaching, head coach Jim BlankenshipNamed ASUN Coach of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2019, has made FGCU women’s football an annual contender for the ASUN conference and an emerging program in the South Region in just 13 seasons. Blankenship launched the program in 2007 and has since led the Eagles to 13 double-digit winning seasons culminating in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 with ASUN Regular Season Championships. He was there in 2011 and 2012, also leading the Eagles to successive ASUN tournament titles as they became the first team in university history to make it to the NCAA tournament. The Eagles won the 2014 ASUN tournament and hosted the first ever 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 three consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament with a third ASUN tournament title in a row. A year later, the Eagles became the first ASUN women’s soccer program to play four NCAA tournaments in a row in 2017 with one more tournament title. Blankenship has led the FGCU to an overall record of 171-61-27 (.716) in the first 13 seasons of the program, including an 84-17-15 (.801) mark in ASUN. Blankenship’s impressive career record of 411-132-38 (.743) in 26 seasons has been led by FGCU, University of Miami, Lynn University and St. Thomas University.
It takes a team to accomplish our newest goal – a $ 10 million campaign to meet athletes’ needs for continued academic success, life skills, mental health, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and departmental needs in the field Expand and improve facilities as well as perform mentoring and leadership training for trainers and employees. The name embodies our mission and the purpose of the EAGLE campaign – Eagle Athletics Generating Lifetime Excellence. Join our team and Promise your gift today to help the eagles of tomorrow!
FGCU Athletics sponsors events in November and April for the benefit of the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), the FGCU Athletics charity. For more information, including how you can contribute, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry. Use the hashtag #FeedFGCU to raise awareness.
The FGCU teams have teamed up to win an incredible 85 regular season and tournament titles in just 13 seasons in Division I. Additionally, in just nine seasons after the season, the Eagles have competed in 40 teams or individuals in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have achieved a national top 25 placement in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 21, 2020-21), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2021) as well as men’s football (2018, 2019) and women’s football (2018) than three of the youngest. In 2016-17, the Greens and Blues finished in top sixth place in the division in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and national top 100 placements, ahead of several Power 5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN, and Florida State’s top seven teams received the NCAA Public Recognition Award for their rate of academic progression in their sport. The FGCU achieved a combined classroom record of 3.50 GPA in the fall semester 2020 and exceeded the general population of university students for 23 consecutive semesters. Another milestone was reached in each of the fall semesters 2019, spring 2020, and fall 2020, as all 15 programs achieved a team GPA of 3.0 or higher. The Eagles also achieved an all-time high of 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – as one of two runners-up for the first-ever NACDA Community Service Award, presented by the Fiesta Bowl