Women’s football to welcome ASUN newcomer Austin Peay

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – After a big win over Lipscomb the other night, the FGCU women’s soccer team stays home on Sunday when they host Austin Peay at Pickering Field. The game is due to start at 1 p.m.

FGCU enters Sunday’s contest 8-5 on aggregate and 6-1 in ASUN, winners of five in a row. In Thursday’s game against Lipscomb, the Eagles beat the Bisons, 2-1, on an 89th-minute free kick winner from Junior Lea Scarpelli (Brick, NJ/Brick Memorial/Penn State). Junior Louise Lillback (Stockholm, Sweden/Tibble Gymnasium) scored the FGCU’s other goal of the game, his seventh of the season leading the team and the 33rd of his career

The Eagles clinched a spot in the 2022 ASUN Tournament with the win. If the Greens and Blues win their remaining three games, they will be no worse than the No. 2 seed and host the first two rounds.

After their big week on the road last week, several Eagles picked up weekly honors led by second Ashley Labbe (Lake Worth, Fla./Suncoast HS) who was named ASUN Player of the Week and earned a spot on the National Soccer Team of the Week after scoring three goals in both competitions. Scarpelli also earned conference honors by being named ASUN Defensive Player of the Week after anchoring a defense that allowed just one goal in two games while also contributing with a penalty goal herself.

Statistical Leaders
On the season, Lillback leads the team with 18 points (7g, 3a) while Labbe has 15 points (6g, 3a). Scarpelli leads team and ASUN with six assists in first year Marla Gaudlitz (Werder, Germany/Sportschule Potsdam Friedrich Ludwig Jahn) has four, including three last week. In fillet, Katie Sullivan played every minute this season and made 53 saves in 13 games.

ASUN Awards
With the addition of Labbe and Scarpelli, four Eagles have earned weekly honors from ASUN, with Lillback winning Player of the Week twice. Katie Sullivan also won ASUN Goalie of the Week on September 6 after shutting out FAU in the Eagles’ 1-0 win over the Owls.

Almost 100
The Eagles earned their 99th ASUN win in just their 16th season against the Bisons the other night, all of whom were under the only head coach in program history, Jim Blankenship. The only other current ASUN school to pass the century mark is Jacksonville, which has 106, albeit nine more seasons than FGCU.

Lillback on the rise
Most Career Goals

1. 66 Tigre Tindell 2013-16
2 33 Louise Lillback 2019-present
3. 28 Shannen Wacker 2011-14
4. 25 Evdokia Popadinova 2018-19
5. 24 Amber McCall 2007-09

Most career points

1. 162 Tigre Tindell 2013-16
2. 83 Shannen Wacker 2011-14
3. 73 Louise Lillback 2019-present
4. 68 Lindsey Hawk 2007-10
5. 67 Marjorie Boilesen 2017-19
6. 66 Paulina Speckmaier 2013-16
seven. 59 Evdokia Popadinova 2018-19
8. 57 Amber McCall 2007-09
9. 53 Ally Kasun 2012-15
ten. 44 Gina Petracco 2008-11

Season outlook

Eagles are only returning nine players from last year’s team that won ASUN’s East Division, but that includes ASUN’s pre-season player of the year Lillback as well as ASUN All-Preseason members Scarpelli and Labbe. The FGCU adds 19 newcomers, a mix of freshmen and transfers, to the 2022 sqaud which was picked second in the ASUN pre-season poll.

Lillback is the reigning ASUN Player of the Year after scoring 12 goals last season, including a conference-high 11, in ASUN competition. Scarpelli returns to anchor the back line after helping the Eagles to seven shutouts a year ago while adding three assists. Labbe returns to her away spot after being named All-ASUN First Team despite playing just 13 games before suffering a season-ending injury.

In order to, Sullivan returns for her second season with the Eagles after starting 15 games in 2021. In nine conference games, she has allowed just five goals while making 26 saves with an .839 save percentage.

New faces
Among the influx of new players are transfers of graduates Libby Helverson (Drakes) and Marguerite Berry (Boston). Helverson was named to the Midwest All-Area Third Team as well as the Missouri Valley Conference First Team after a stellar season with the Bulldogs in midfield while Berry brings a wealth of experience after played on the back line for the Terriers for four seasons. The Eagles will also rely on some of the 11 real freshmen, which includes local products Kendal Gargiula (Bishop Verot).

Scout the competition
In his first year in ASUN after leaving the OVC, Austin Peay is 3-8-5 overall and 1-5-2 in the league. In the ASUN pre-season poll, APSU was chosen to finish 13th.

Alec Baumgardt leads the governors with four while Anna McPhie has two. Chloé Dion allows 1.27 goals per game and has 51 saves in 16 games.

For complete coverage of FGCU women’s soccer, follow the Eagles on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FGCU_WSoccer and online at www.FGCUAthletics.com. You can also sign up to receive news about FGCU women’s soccer or other programs straight to your inbox by visiting www.fgcuathletics.com/email.

COACH JIM BLANKENSHIP
A veteran of more than two decades in collegiate coaching, head coach Jim Blankenship, who was named ASUN Coach of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2019, has made FGCU women’s football an annual ASUN Conference contender and a growing program in the Southern Region in just 13 seasons. Blankenship started the program in 2007 and has since guided the Eagles to 13 double-digit winning seasons, culminating in ASUN Regular Season Championships in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. 2011 and 2012, he also led the Eagles to back-to-back ASUN Tournament titles by becoming the first team in college history to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles won the 2014 ASUN Tournament and hosted the first NCAA Championship event on campus. The Eagles earned their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance with the 2015 ASUN Tournament Championship and won their first NCAA game at USF in 2015 while finishing 24th in the nation. In 2016, the Eagles made three straight trips to the NCAA Tournament with a third straight ASUN Tournament title. A year later, the Eagles became the first ASUN women’s soccer program to host four consecutive NCAA tournaments with another tournament title in 2017. Blankenship guided the FGCU to an overall record of 192-74-28 (. 698) in the first 16 seasons of the program’s existence, including a 99-20-15 (.791) mark in ASUN. Blankenship’s impressive career record of 432-145-39 (.732) over 32 seasons came while coaching FGCU, University of Miami, Lynn University and St. Thomas University.

EAGLE CAMPAIGN
IT NEEDS A TEAM to achieve our most recent goal – a $10 million campaign to address the needs of student-athletes for continued academic success, life skills, mental health, nutrition, strength and conditioning as well as needs of the department for expansion and improvement of facilities as well as mentoring and leadership training for coaches and staff. The name embodies our mission and the goal of the EAGLE – Eagle Athletics Generating Lifetime Excellence campaign. Join our team and commit your donation today to help the Eagles of tomorrow!

#FEEDFGCU
FGCU Athletics sponsors events in November and April to benefit the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), FGCU’s Charities of Choice Athletics. For more information, including how to contribute, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and use the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.

ABOUT THE FGCU
FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 92 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 15 seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just 11 seasons of DI playoff eligibility, the Eagles brought together 45 teams or individuals competing in NCAA championships. In 2022, the men’s golf team became the first program to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Eight FGCU programs ranked in the top 25 nationally in their respective sports, including women’s basketball (#20, 2021-22), beach volleyball (#20, 2022) and men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s football. (2018) as four of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Vert et Bleu posted the department’s best sixth place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top 100 nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and Florida State’s top seven teams won the NCAA Public Recognition Award for their rate of academic progression in their sport. FGCU also collectively achieved a record 3.50 in-class GPA in the fall 2020 semester and outperformed the general undergraduate college population for 26 consecutive semesters. The last five semesters (Fall 2019 – Spring 2022) saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a cumulative team average of 3.0 or higher. The Eagles also served an all-time high of 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two finalists for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.

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