By Bryce Thompson
FGCU women’s soccer (11-4-1) defeated Stetson (2-13-2) Sunday afternoon in a back-and-forth battle to claim their ninth ASUN regular-season title in program history. The 3-2 victory over the Hatters proved to be a contested matchup, as the two teams combined for 28 shots and 26 fouls.
Stetson looked to upset the Eagles early with a diving header in the 15th-minute to give the Hatters a 1-0 lead. FGCU’s Megan Young seemed to be the only source any offense with three shots to open up the game, but unable to connect.
A rough start for the Eagles was turned around with senior leadership from Evdokia Popadinova, with a strike in the 26th minute to draw even at 1-1. Popadinova continued to shine, scoring her second goal of the match to give FGCU a 2-1 lead in the 28th minute.
Popadinova’s two goals took the Green and Blue into halftime with a 2-1 lead, outshooting the Hatters 8-3 going into the break.
The second half remained tight until the 65th minute when Stetson’s Maggie Struble broke away from the Eagles defense to tie up the game 2-2.
FGCU responded as Alyssa Abbondandolo netted her first goal of the season on a clutch breakaway goal in the 76th-minute. The Eagles held onto their lead and clinched the ASUN regular-season title with a 6-1-1 conference record.
FGCU could claim the ASUN outright depending on the result of Lipscomb’s match against North Alabama later Sunday night. Lipscomb’s victory would result in a sharing of the regular-season title, but FGCU would still hold the top seed in the conference tournament.
With FGCU expected to be the No.1 seed, they await the result of the Kennesaw State and UNF matchup to determine who they’ll play on Friday, Nov. 1.