TAMPA, Fla. – With nine shots and both of the team’s goals, junior Tabby Tindell led the FGCU women’s soccer team to a 2-0 win over Mississippi State Friday afternoon at USF’s Corbett Soccer Stadium. The Eagles defeated the SEC foe in the first game of the USF Tournament to move to 2-0-1 on the season, while the Bulldogs begin the year at 0-3.
Tindell (Ocala, Fla/Trinity Catholic High School) fired off nine shots on the day, seven of which were on target and scored both of the team’s goals. The junior’s first strike came in the 17th minute on an assist from Paulina Speckmaier (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep). Tindell pushed the Eagles ahead 2-0 late in the game with a 78th minute penalty kick. After drawing a foul in the box, Tindell found the back of the net for her second goal of the day and third of the season.
Senior Brittany Brown (Rochester, N.Y./Greece-Athena High School)stopped four shots on the day, including a penalty kick in the 74th minute. With another clean slate, Brown has recorded three shutouts on the year and now stands just one away from matching the FGCU all-time shutout record and the Atlantic Sun record, both of which are held by FGCU alumStephanie Powers.
As a unit, the Eagles produced 13 shots through 90 minutes with eight attempts that challenged the MSU keeper. The Bulldogs had seven shots on the day from six different players.
“I’m proud of the ladies and the win today,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “We did an outstanding job defensively and it was a super job again by Brittany in goal. The save on the penalty kick lifted us at the right time and sparked our play for the rest of the game.”
The Green and Blue took control from the opening whistle and pressured the MSU defense early in the game. Tindell fired a shot that was stopped by the Bulldog keeper in the fourth minute and added another on-target attempt in the eighth minute.
The Eagles continued the offensive surge with additional shots from Tindell, Speckmaier and Ally Kasun (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield High School)in the first 15 minutes of action. Tindell’s third attempt went wide, while Speckmaier hit the crossbar and Kasun’s shot was stopped by the Bulldog keeper.
After another strike from Speckmaier, the team’s sixth in 16 minutes, Tindell found the back of the net late in the 17th minute to push the Eagles ahead 1-0.
MSU responded to the deficit with offensive pressure late in the half, but was unable to capitalize on two corner kicks. The Bulldogs fired consecutive shots at Brown, who maintained the lead for FGCU with saves in the 37th and 40th minutes.
Through 45 minutes of action, the Eagles held an 8-5 advantage in shots and a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard.
Tindell produced her fifth shot of the night in the first two minutes of the second half, but the attempt was quickly scooped up by the MSU keeper to maintain the 1-0 score. After nearly 20 minutes of back-and-forth in the midfield, Tindell fired another shot that challenged the MSU backline but once again, the sophomore keeper stopped the shot. Just four minutes later, rookie Camille Knudstrup (Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins High School) fired her own attempt from the backfield but missed the mark high.
In the 74th minute, a MSU attacker was tripped up in the box as FGCU was whistled for a foul near the goal. The MSU shooter lined up for a penalty kick but Brown dove to her left and stopped the shot. The penalty kick stop enabled the Eagles to maintain the 1-0 lead as the 90th minute approached.
After another shot that was stifled by the MSU keeper, Tindell made her way through the defense and into the box. Before the shot attempt, the forward was taken down on a MSU foul, awarding the Green and Blue a penalty kick of its own. Tindell buried the free kick to push the Eagles ahead 2-0 and secure the FGCU victory.
Overall, the Eagles produced 13 shots with eight on goal, while holding the Bulldogs to seven. MSU held an advantage in corner kicks, 6-2, and was whistled for 11 fouls compared to FGCU’s nine.
The Green and Blue will take on LIU Brooklyn to conclude the USF Tournament with a 1 p.m. kickoff on Sunday, Aug. 30 at the Corbett Soccer Complex. The Blackbirds defeated Iona 2-0 to open the year and faced USF Friday evening.