Score: #2 FGCU 3, #6 Central Arkansas 2, 2OT (FGCU Advances)
Records: FGCU (12-5-1) | Central Arkansas (6-9-4)
Location: Pickering Field at the FGCU Soccer Complex (Fort Myers, Fla.)
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The moment did not faze FGCU's Erika Zschuppe as she settled the ball at the top of the box, weaved past three Central Arkansas defenders and rocketed the game-winner just below the crossbar and out of the reach of the keeper. In the 103rd minute of the ASUN Conference Women's Soccer Championship Semifinal, the Freshman of the Year sent FGCU to its eighth Championship Final as the second-seeded Eagles defeated the upset-minded Bears, 3-2 (2OT), at Pickering Field on Sunday afternoon.
FGCU moves on to the Championship Final for the first time since winning it all in 2017 as the team will take on #1 Liberty at Osborne Stadium on Friday, Nov. 4 at 6 PM ET on ESPN+.
After a scoreless 45 minutes of action that saw nine total shots (4 on frame), the Eagles and Bears traded four goals between the 55:46 and 85:24 marks in the second half. The Eagles struck first as Marla Gaudlitz got positioning for the header on Louis Lillback's corner try before the Bears answered less than eight minutes later when Taylor Lassiter connected with Anna Kerr on a breakaway goal in the 63rd minute.
Another 10 minutes of scoreless action was broken up in the 83rd minute when ASUN Defensive Player of the Year Leah Scarpelli turned offensive and lined up a right-footed score. UCA was not done, answering with another equalizer with 4:34 remaining in regulation as Tristyn Pavatt capitalized on the FGCU keeper miscue for an open-net goal to send the game to the first overtime period.
- FGCU reached its first ASUN Championship Final since 2017; the Eagles appeared in seven-straight title matches from 2011-17 with a 6-1 record during that stretch.
- The Eagles outshot UCA, 27-8, in the match with a 10-5 shot-on-goal advantage; Katie Sullivan notched three saves in the victory.
- The win marked FGCU's 10th-straight match without a loss (9-0-1); FGCU's last loss came to Liberty in the second conference game of the season on Sept. 18.
#2 FGCU advances to the ASUN Championship Final on Friday, Nov. 4, in Lynchburg, Va., to face #1 Liberty at 6 PM on ESPN+. Central Arkansas falls to 6-9-4 as its run in the conference tournament concludes.
ASUN Conference, Atlanta – the only DI conference headquartered in the ATL, our footprint's primary media, sports, business, transportation and cultural hub
The ASUN, a Division I conference member of the NCAA, boasts a membership of institutions that share visionary leadership, bold ambition and creative innovation. As a nimble adaptive conference, unafraid to blaze a national pathway for better service to our student-athletes, teams, and institutions, the ASUN has a proud history of firsts, national academic and athletic achievements and a conference culture that walks the walk with its four ASUN Beams. Students First! Rise. Connect. Impact. #ASUNBuilt by Austin Peay (Clarksville, Tenn.), Bellarmine (Louisville, Ky.), Central Arkansas (Conway, Ark.), Eastern Kentucky (Richmond, Ky.), FGCU (Fort Myers, Fla.), Jacksonville (Fla.), Jacksonville State (Jacksonville, Ala.), Kennesaw State (Ga.), Liberty (Lynchburg, Va.), Lipscomb (Nashville, Tenn.), North Alabama (Florence, Ala.), North Florida (Jacksonville, Fla.), Queens (Charlotte, N.C.) and Stetson (DeLand, Fla.).