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Four first-half goals lead Eagles to win in home opener

The Florida Gulf Coast University women’s soccer team came home from Gainesville with their spirits still held high despite the 0-1 record to start the season. The home opener against the Albany Great Danes began with a proud unveiling of the 2012 Atlantic Sun Championship banner and finished with 5-0 victory at the FGCU Soccer Complex.

The match jumped into immediate action when Cape Coral’s Kayley Clay scored the first goal at 53 seconds into play. She was assisted on that play by A-Sun Player of the Year Ally Kasun and by the only player to have multiple points in the match, Julia Roddar.

“We had to come back and prove ourselves so we weren’t having a losing season. We had to win. And we had to possess the ball to win,” Clay said about her focus coming into the match.

Ali Rogers, with an assist from Roddar, scored the goal that brought the Green and Blue up 2-0 in the 25th minute.

“We came out with the same mentality we did against UF,” Rogers said. “We wanted to win every tackle, go to every ball and beat them first.”

They certainly showed that beating them first was in their mentality in this match against Albany. In the last 5 minutes of play during the first period, two of the new recruits to the FGCU women’s soccer team, Meghan Hayden and Tessa Berger, scored goals with assists from Ashley Parks and Melissa Arnold. The Eagles led 4-0 going into halftime.

The second period of play brought less scoring and goalkeeper Brittany Brown earned a shut-out against the Great Danes, making six saves, four of them during the second period. The only goal scored by the Eagles during the second half was by Freshman Tabitha Tindell, bringing the final score to 5-0.

This year brought a lot of new recruits to FGCU, and Coach Jim Blankenship has five freshman starters on the pitch.

“We felt like we had a great recruiting class and it always looks phenomenal on paper,” Blankenship said. “As a coach, you’re always excited about them getting here and seeing the potential of that shape into this. We started five freshmen today; it’s young and it’s exciting. It’s got a lot of energy, and I really like the group. I like the potential of the group, but we have a long way to go still.”

The Lady Eagles play their next matches at home when they host the 7th Annual Embassy Suites Classic on Friday, August 30 at 7 p.m. against Davidson and Sunday, September 1 at 1 p.m. against Mississippi State.

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