FORT MYERS - After winning its third straight regular season crown, the FGCU women's soccer team will play host to the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament semifinals and championship for the second straight year this weekend at the FGCU Soccer Complex. The top-seeded Eagles (12-3-3, 7-1-1) will take on fifth-seeded Jacksonville (9-6-3, 5-2-2) in the semifinals on Friday at 7 p.m. following second-seeded Mercer (12-4-3, 6-1-2) against sixth-seeded North Florida (8-9-2, 5-3-1) at 4 p.m.
Currently No. 49 in the TopDrawerSoccer.com Tournament 64 projections, No. 66 in the latest NCAA RPI and tied for 10th in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Southeast Poll, the Eagles had a week off from competition after claiming the top spot in the A-Sun regular season standings, securing an automatic bye into the semifinals and host duties throughout.
FGCU tied the Dolphins, 1-1, in Jacksonville (Oct. 7) in their only meeting this season. The two teams have tied in the previous four meetings.
FGCU saw a league-high nine players earn Atlantic Sun postseason honors last week, highlighted by Jim Blankenship winning Coach of the Year honors and senior Ashley Ciesielczyk being named the Defensive Player of the Year.
Joining Ciesielczyk on the A-Sun All-Conference first team were sophomore Shannen Wacker and the only unanimous choice freshman Ally Kasun. FGCU landed four on the second team with seniors Danielle Faller and Jennifer Crittenberger being joined by freshmen Emma Blackwell and Shea Rhoney. Kasun, Blackwell and Rhoney doubled-up on the All-Freshmen team and were joined by keeper Brittany Brown, while Wacker's second award came from being named to the All-Conference Academic squad.
The nine postseason honorees marks the second straight year FGCU has produced the league's most award winners, equaling last year's total.
Including last year's A-Sun Tournament, the Green and Blue are 17-0-3 in their last 20 home games against A-Sun opponents dating back to 2009, including nine straight wins heading into Friday. Since joining the A-Sun in 2007, the Eagles lead the league in conference wins (40), fewest conference losses (10) and most conference ties (9). In their last 30 A-Sun games, FGCU sports a 24-2-4 record with a 69-6 goal differential.
Wacker leads the Eagles in points (23), goals (10) and ranks 10th in the country in game-winning goals (5). She is currently tied for second in FGCU single-season history for goals in a season with Amber McCall (10), who did it back in 2007. She is only a goal behind the top spot (11) in that category, which was set by Lindsay Haw in 2007.
Kasun is second behind Wacker in points (19), tied for second in goals (6) and third in assists (7). Classmate Rhoney is tied with Kasun in goals (6) and is third on the team in points (16). Ciesielczyk leads the A-Sun and is 12th in the country in assists with 10. Junior midfielder Kayley Clay of Cape Coral is fourth on the team in points (13) and is second in assists (9).
Brittany Brown has started the last 16 games in goal for the Eagles, holding an 11-2-3 record on the season and a goals-against average (GAA) of 0.65, which is second-best in the A-Sun and leads the conference in shutouts with seven.
Jacksonville is currently riding a three-game winning streak which includes the 2-1 overtime victory at fourth-seeded ETSU in the A-Sun Quarterfinals last Saturday. Freshman Marie Weckhurst is tied for the team lead in points (13) and is first in goals (6), while her older sister, Raquel Weckhurst, is leading the team with five assists. Sophomore Kaitlyn Bassett is tied with Marie Weckhurst in points (13) after scoring both goals in the 2-1 win over ETSU. Jill D'Amico has started 16 out of 17 games in goal for the Dolphins, holding a 7-6-3 record and a .744 save percentage.
Live stats and video will be available for each game at www.FGCUATHLETICS.COM. You can also get in-game updates through twitter @FGCUEagles and @FGCU_WSoccer. Fans can also get women's soccer updates from around the Atlantic Sun and the nation by using the hashtags #ASUNWSOC and #D1WSOC.
Tickets are also available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com/tickets or by calling (239) 590-7145. The FGCU ticket office is open from 9 a.m. 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday. Single game tickets can also be bought at $6 for adults and $3 for youth. Groups of 10+ can get in for $3 a person. FGCU students get in free with their student ID.