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FGCU Women’s Soccer Earns Dominate Win in ASUN Home Opener

Jessica Piland/FGCU Athletics

The FGCU women’s soccer team returned home to play Jacksonville after an irregular five games on the road. With a 2-0 shutout win over Jacksonville, the Eagles extended their win streak to three games in impressive fashion.

On the road, the Eagles tied 1-1 at Highpoint and then lost their next two games at Appalachian State, 0-3, and Florida Atlantic, 0-1. This is where the tide began to change for the Eagles.

Once the Eagles returned to Florida after FAU, they would beat the FIU Panthers, 1-0, in Miami, and wrapped up their streak of road games with a win over North Florida, 2-0, starting ASUN Conference games.

For the Eagles’ ASUN Conference home opener, they entered with a record of 4-3-1 and with a conference record of 1-0. They welcomed the 2-4-2 Jacksonville Dolphins who were looking to rebound after their tough loss to Stenton. However, before the game could get underway everyone had to wait for the lightning to clear.

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There were countless delays before the game could get underway as the delays totaled over three hours. The game would finally get underway at 4:18 pm with the Eagles getting the first kick off.

Starting the game, the Eagles’ defense was in complete control. They were able to keep possession of the ball on the Dolphins’ side of the field for the majority of the first half of the game.

This would show dividends as in the tenth minute, sophomore Erika Zschuppe would score the first goal of the match, her fifth of the season, with an assist from junior Reese Mendenhall, putting the Eagles up 1-0 early in the contest. This would not come without trouble.

The next time the Eagles would threaten to score, huge contact occurred between Eagles midfielder Grace Paradis and Dolphins goalkeeper Gretchen Duttenhofer, which sent her out for the rest of the game. This allowed the Eagles to take charge of the game as the Dolphins had to put in an emergency goalkeeper.

Reaching the end of the first half, more contact would erupt between the Eagles’ Zschuppe and the Dolphins’ Hannah Bielicke, resulting in both players receiving a yellow card in the 34th minute.

Just after that moment and as the first half continued to wind down, the Eagles would get their second goal of the game in the 36th minute. Sophomore Kendal Gargiula would score the goal, her fourth of the season, after the ball went off of Jacksonville’s goalkeeper, who had just blocked a shot from Zschuppe, giving her an assist on the goal and putting the Eagles up 2-0.

Neither team would score in the second half as it was a defensive standoff between both teams with no goals conceded.

FGCU would limit the Dolphins to only two shots in the first half and five shots in the second half, with only two of those seven total shots being on goal. It showed how strong the Eagles’ defense was throughout the match, leading to their fifth win of the season. Freshman goalkeeper Olivia Molina also earned her fifth shutout of the season in the victory.

The win over Jacksonville gives the Eagles their second-straight win in ASUN Conference play, giving FGCU six points to start off in conference and a 5-3-1 record. They look to continue this momentum going forward with yet another road trip for two games against Central Arkansas and North Alabama. The Eagles will have a four game homestand of their own starting next Thursday, September 28th, against Kennesaw State.

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About the Contributor
Jeffrey Hrunka
Jeffrey Hrunka, Eagle News Assistant Sports Editor
Jeffrey Hrunka is a junior double majoring in communications and journalism with a concentration in public relations. Jeffrey is from Fort Myers where his interest in sports journalism originated after falling in love with the world of motorsports. When he’s not working for Eagle News, he is usually spending time with friends, watching the New York Giants lose, or chilling in the pool.

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