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FGCU women’s soccer team split a pair of games in Arizona

The FGCU women’s soccer team escaped Hurricane Irma by traveling to the West Coast to play a pair of games against Arizona and Arizona State. The Eagles defeated Arizona 1-0 on Friday, but fell to Arizona State 2-1 just two days later.  

Battling against a Power 5 program in Arizona, FGCU scored midway into the first half and Melisa Weck preserved the shutout for her fourth of the season. 

“This is a phenomenal result and a testament for how well our kids battled,” said head coach Jim Blankenship to FGCU athletics. “Weck was absolutely fabulous as always and led a bend-don’t-break defense. These kids were outstanding defensively today. I’m just really proud of the kids’ effort, and this is a great result against a really good team. This is a great win for the program.” 

In the first 20 minutes of the match, the Wildcats generated four shots on multiple corner kicks, but Weck and her defense kept it scoreless. Moments later, Camille Knundstrom sent a long ball to Varin Ness who broke clear of the defense and scored the lone goal of the match. For Ness, it was her second goal of the year. 

Despite the lead, the wildcats pressured FGCU throughout the rest of the half, leading to Weck making seven more saves. 

Coming out of the break, Arizona continued to control play, earning a couple of corners. Weck then came up with two of her biggest saves on Carlie Crisler and Gabi Stolan, preventing a tie.  

FGCU earned their first corner late in the half right after the Wildcats hit the post, but neither team was able to score, and the Eagles held on for the win. In total, Weck faced 19 shots and made 10 saves for her sixth win of the year.  

Looking for their sixth consecutive win on Sunday, FGCU was the attacking team with many chances for goals early on. However, despite their early aggression, the team failed to score, and a late goal was not enough as the Eagles fell 2-1, 

“You have to finish your chances, we didn’t, and they scored on a counter that changed the game,” said Blankenship. “It’s disappointing because we had some opportunities early and it came back to bite us. Ultimately, it’s a good weekend because you go 1-1 on the road, but when you’re in a position to come away with six points it’s disappointing. We’ll learn from this after playing two really good teams.” 

The first opportunity of the match came within the first two minutes, as Knundstrom and Hope Van Wagner had chances in close, but were both denied. Shortly after, Ness took a shot that hit the crossbar and came right back to Ness, but Nikki Panas kept that out as well.  

After the Sun Devils withstood the Eagles’ shots, the two teams went into halftime scores. However, in the second half, Arizona State came out and scored two second half goals within 10 minutes of each other, bringing the score to 2-0. 

After a couple of substitutes, Cassidy Morgan headed home a corner kick from Paige Law for her first career goal to trim it to 2-1 in the 73rd minute, but a late goal from Van Wagner was not enough, leading to FGCU losing their second game of the season. 

The Eagles final two out-of-conference games before A-SUN play will be at (20) UCF, on Friday, September 15th, and Weber International, on Monday, September 18th.

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