FORT MYERS, Fla. – Behind a game-tying goal from Shannen Wacker and game-winning tally by Kaitlin Parker, the FGCU women’s soccer team began its preseason schedule with an exhibition come-from-behind victory over the University of South Florida Tuesday afternoon at the FGCU Soccer Complex, 2-1.
After sustained pressure in the opening 15 minutes of the contest, USF tallied an opening strike in the 19th minute off the foot of Olivia Chance. Chance picked up the ball near the top of the FGCU box following an initial shot which was blocked down by the Eagles’ defense, took a dribble to her left and beat keeper Brittany Brown (Rochester, N.Y. / Greece Athena HS) to her left.
The two teams played three, 30-minute periods, and early in the second stanza FGCU knotted the game at 1-1. Ashley Parks (Wildwood, Mo. / Lafayette HS) intercepted an outlet pass from USF goalkeeper Hannah Jasurda at the right corner of the box and passed the ball to a cutting Wacker (Parker, Colo. / Ponderosa HS), who took one dribble and slid the ball under the left arm of a diving Jasurda.
The Eagles had a great opportunity off a corner kick to take the lead midway through the second period as Shea Rhoney (Lithia, Fla. / Newsome HS) put a perfectly-placed ball onto the head of Tessa Berger (New Zealand / Epsom Girls) at the six-yard mark, but the defender’s effort was deflected up off the crossbar by Jasurda.
However, in the waning seconds of the period, Parker (Palm Harbor, Fla. / Clearwater Central HS) charged Jasurda as she attempted to cover up a loose ball in the box. The sophomore freed up the ball and deposited it into an empty net with just 35 seconds remaining to give FGCU the go-ahead and ultimately game-winning goal.
Brown played the first and second periods for the Blue and Green, making two saves. She was relieved by Danielle LeRoy (Tampa, Fla. / H.B. Plant HS) for the final half hour, and the redshirt sophomore made one save.
The Eagles return to action in their second, and final, exhibition tilt on Friday at home against Florida Atlantic University. Admission is free, and kickoff is set for 1 p.m.