FGCU women’s soccer claims third consecutive ASUN Women’s Soccer Championship
Heading back to the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season, the FGCU women’s soccer team defeated Lipscomb to earn the program’s fifth ASUN Women’s Soccer Championship.
“This means so much to our team,” said three-time ASUN Player of the Year Tabby Tindell. “It’s our goal and expectation each season to come back and make it to the conference tournament and make it out of it.”
Scoring two goals en route to earning a spot on the 2016 ASUN All-Tournament Team and earning Championship MVP honors, Ali Rodgers opened the scoring in the 33rd minute before sealing the deal in the 80th minute to send the Eagles dancing with a 2-0 victory.
“We knew one goal wasn’t going to win it,” Rodgers said. “We didn’t want to make a dog fight, and for me to finish that second one, I’m lucky. Meg (Mulligan) made a great run and played a great ball, and I got the chance to finish it.”
The Eagles started the game with high pressure in the attacking third of the pitch, firing three shots in the first five minutes of the game.
Sending the ball toward the back post, Mulligan’s cross found the head of Rodgers, as she soared through the air to meet the ball and drive it into the back of the net to break the deadlock and give the Eagles a 1-0 lead with 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
Coming into the second half, the Eagles controlled the tempo of the match before the Bisons began to gain momentum with their season on the line.
With multiple attempts toward a goal, including a dangerous volley from Ellen Lundy that went just over the bar, Melissa Weck was strong for the Eagles between the sticks, recording three saves in the match en route to increasing her goal-against average to an ASUN-best 0.73 percent.
With 10 minutes left in regulation, Rodgers added a vital insurance goal to add to FGCU’s lead, slotting the ball in the back of the net after Mulligan’s corner deflected off of Paulina Speckmaier before landing at the feet of Rodgers and into the goal.
Making one more save to earn her 10th clean sheet on the year, Weck secured the Eagles’ place in the NCAA tournament.
After the match, Ashley Parks, Speckmaier, Tindell and Rodgers were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Scheduled to play in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Nov. 11, FGCU will discover whom it faces during the NCAA Selection Show that will air on NCAA.com at 4:30 p.m. Monday. FGCU Athletics will be hosting a watch party of the selection show at Alico Arena.