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Eagles Complete Quarterfinal Comeback, Move on to ASUN Championship Semifinals

Jessica Piland/FGCU Athletics
The FGCU Women’s Soccer team celebrates their win against Austin Peay after stamping their name to the semifinal round of the ASUN Women’s Soccer Tournament on Sunday October 29, 2023.

On Oct. 29, the FGCU women’s soccer team was pushed to the brink in their quarterfinal game against Austin Peay. The Eagles responded late with a barrage of goals on their way to securing a narrow 3-2 win and advancing to the semifinals in the 2023 ASUN Women’s Soccer Championship.

Heading into the game, FGCU finished the regular season with a 10-4-4 overall record and a 7-1-3 conference record. That was good enough to earn the third seed in the ASUN Championship. Austin Peay had earned the seventh seed and advanced out of the first round over Kennesaw State after a 1-1 match went to penalty kicks and led to a 3-2 win as Austin Peay moved on to face FGCU in the quarterfinals.

Despite consistent pressure after kick-off by the Eagles, it was the Governors that struck first early on. In the 14th minute, Austin Peay scored off of a corner kick to take a 1-0 lead over the Eagles. That lead for the Governors would last through the rest of the first half and even into the second half.

The defense for Austin Peay was able to stifle FGCU for the most part while their goalkeeper made five saves in the first half to keep the score as is.

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However, the tide began to turn fast into the second half and in the Eagles’ favor. Freshman forward Maya Henley Buisan evened the score at 1-1 with a goal in the 65th minute, with assists from junior midfielder Katharina Oelschlaeger and sophomore defender Elena Hinkson.

A foul was called on the Governors in the penalty box and the Eagles were rewarded with a penalty shot. So in the 70th minute, sophomore midfielder Erika Zschuppe drilled it and gave FGCU a 2-1 lead in the process.

The Eagles weren’t done yet as just in the next minute, junior midfielder Ashley Labbe scored another goal, with an assist from junior defender Reese Mendenhall, to extend FGCU’s lead to 3-1. In a matter of just six minutes, the Eagles responded to the challenge as they went from being down one goal to being up by two goals.

Although Austin Peay did respond with a goal of their own in the 81st minute to cut the lead down to 3-2, FGCU’s defense shut the door by not allowing another shot in the remaining minutes. FGCU secured a 3-2 win over Austin Peay to move on to the semifinals in the ASUN Championship. Additionally, freshman goalkeeper Olivia Molina earned one save in the game to reach 100 saves this season.

In the semifinals, FGCU will face Central Arkansas, the second seed, in Nashville. The Eagles dropped a close game to them earlier in the season, the difference in a tiebreaker for seeding. FGCU will look to respond with a win to get the opportunity to move on and defend their title from last season.

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About the Contributor
James Curtis
James Curtis, Eagle News Sports Editor
James Curtis is a senior majoring in journalism and minoring in global studies. He is from Tampa, FL, and has known he wanted to be a journalist since taking a journalism class in seventh grade. He has been involved in sports for his whole life, including swimming competitively all the way through high school. His goal now is to be a sports journalist. When not covering sports games or writing stories, he's usually spending his free time with his friends or watching YouTube.

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