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Women’s Soccer Earns a Win and Draw to Start Homestand Before Last Two Home Games This Week

Jessica Piland/FGCU Athletics
Ashley Labbe (17) scored the Eagle’s only goal against Queens University Sunday October 1, 2023.

The start of a four game homestand awaited FGCU women’s soccer, beginning with a game against Kennesaw State to end September. After a weather delay, the Eagles brought  a dominant performance to the pitch against the Owls.

The Eagles entered this game with a 6-4-1 record overall and 3-1 in conference play. They won their previous game on the road against the North Alabama Owls 1-0. The Owls came in with a 1-6-4 record overall and 0-3-1 in conference play.

The Eagles took control offensively in the first half with ten shots. Sophomore forward Kendal Gargiula scored the first goal of the game, her sixth goal of the season, with assists from Erika Zschuppe and Lauren Dwyer.

Junior forward Katelyn Kauffman scored the second goal, a header off of a corner kick from Ashley Labbe. Kauffman’s goal, her first of the season, earned a spot on that night’s SportsCenter Top 10, placing eighth on the list.

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With a 2-1 lead at the half, the second half brought out a different game plan from the Eagles, as they only had four shots with three corner kicks. The Owls were aggressive offensively in the second half with nine shots and eight corner kicks. The FGCU freshman goalkeeper Olivia Molina was dominant with seven saves, six of them in the second half. 

The Eagles locked up defensively throughout the second half. Despite the strong offensive push from the opponent, the Eagles still had more total shots than the Owls, 15-14. Junior midfielder Katharina Oelschlaeger got in on the offensive production with a goal of her own, her third of the season, which put the game away and gave the Eagles a 3-1 victory.

This game was the best offensive performance in the month of September by FGCU. This was the Eagles’ second highest goal total of the season, just behind a 4-0 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi back on August 24.

The Eagles then faced off against the Queens Royals on Oct. 1. FGCU looked to continue their momentum after the win over Kennesaw State.

Starting the game, the Eagles were in complete control. They secured four shots on goal while having four corner kicks in just a matter of minutes.

The Eagles’ defense put intense pressure on the Royals, allowing them only one shot on goal in the first 30 minutes.

FGCU would put up six more shots on goal before junior midfielder Ashley Labbe punched in the Eagles’ first goal, her second goal of the season, with an assist from Eden Bretzer.

Both teams would continue the game by trading shots left and right with no luck getting the ball in for a goal. The first half concluded with the Eagles up 1-0 as they looked to continue the defensive pressure that had stopped the Royals so far.

Heading into the second half, the tide changed for the Eagles. The Royals started to respond to the pressure with more movement around the ball.

The intensity from each team then ramped up. Fouls were seen from players on both sides going down on the pitch, showing desperation while trying their hardest to get a good result for their respective schools.

Queens would tie up the game 1-1 in the 66th minute, making it a fight to the finish.

From there, Queens took control of the game, stopping any momentum that the Eagles had.

FGCU did everything it could in the last few minutes as rain began to fall, but the game ended with Queens forcing a much needed draw to stay in ASUN contention.

The 1-1 draw against Queens leaves FGCU 4-1-1 in conference play and an overall record of 7-4-2. They look to continue their homestand against Austin Peay and Lipscomb.

FGCU women’s soccer aims to finish in the top two before ASUN conference play concludes. A top two finish would give the Eagles a bye and send them straight into the semifinals, with that being their best shot to potentially host the ASUN Championship Final.

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About the Contributor
Jeffrey Hrunka, 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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