Finding a number of scoring chances throughout the game, the FGCU women's soccer team finally broke into the scoring column with a goal in the 64th minute off the foot of sophomore forward Shannen Wacker to defeat Florida International 1-0 Friday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
Opening the season with five straight home games, the Eagles (3-1-1) also improved to 4-1-1 overall against FIU, including a 3-1 mark on home turf.
"It was a complete performance tonight and I thought we played really well," said Eagles coach Jim Blankenship. "We pressed for the majority of the match, and I felt like our team stayed fresh for the whole game. So this was a great result against a team that's been to the tournament and was undefeated entering tonight. I was pleased with the way we played. I feel like we are getting better with each game, which is really important."
Although the teams headed to the intermission scoreless, the first half did not lack scoring opportunities. The Eagles took 14 shots, landing nine of those on goal. Meanwhile, the Panthers struck for seven shots, forcing FGCU goalkeeper Brittany Brown to make a trio of saves in the period.
The Eagles' Wacker found the back of the net at 63:13. Freshman Ally Kasun started the scoring chance with a play into the box, which was flicked forward to Wacker by senior Ashley Ciesielczyk. Wacker calmly collected the ball in front of FIU keeper Kaitlyn Savage and buried the shot to the left side of the net for the 1-0 advantage.
The assist moves Ciesielczyk into a share of the program record for career assists with 22. Kasun's helper made her the team leader with six points (2G, 2A), while Wacker is second with five points on two goals and one assist.
The Panthers found chances to level the game over the final 26 minutes, with their best chance coming on a free kick from 35 yards out by Scarlett Montoya in the 78th minute. The strike appeared it would find the upper right corner of the net, but sailed just high as the Eagles maintained the one-goal lead.
For the game, the Eagles held a 22-10 advantage in shots and a commanding 11-0 lead in the corner kick battle. FIU's Savage was busy in net, recording a game-high 12 stops, while Brown finished with just the three first half saves.
The Eagles are back in action on the road for the first time at the UMKC Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. FGCU is set to face Tulsa on Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. and follows with a 12 p.m. kickoff against Saint Louis on Sept. 9.