FGCU to face No. 2 Texas Tech in first round of NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament

Writer: Sylvie Sparks Photographer: Ashleigh Melvin
Published: Updated:

The FGCU Women’s Soccer team is headed west to face No. 2 Texas Tech in round one of the NCAA Tournament.

The Eagles earned an automatic bid to the tournament when they won their second straight conference championship on Sunday.

This trip marks the 50th NCAA appearance ever for FGCU Athletics.

Much to their surprise, the Eagles are traveling outside of the Sunshine State in round one.

“Every year we’ve kind of gotten stuck with Florida or Florida State so to get something completely new is refreshing,” Head Women’s Soccer Coach Jim Blankenship said.

Last season, the ASUN Conference champions lost to the No. 1 Seminoles in the first round, but they didn’t let them score in the first half.

Sophomore midfielder Erika Zschuppe said she’s confident in her team’s ability to pull off the upset over the No. 2 Red Raiders.

“When we saw it’s Texas Tech we were like, ‘I think we got this. If we can hold Florida State 0-0 at half, I think we could do the same at Texas Tech,'” Zschuppe said.

The Eagles won the conference title on Sunday thanks to a three goal comeback over North Alabama.

Down 3-0, the largest deficit they’ve faced all season, with 27 minutes left to play Zschuppe pulled off a hat trick to tie the game.

“It was amazing,” Zschuppe said. “It was surreal. All the energy that the team brought and everything and just the sideline brought. It was just amazing. So much energy in me was just balled up.”

FGCU advanced 3-2 in penalty kicks to bring home the program’s eighth conference title, but there’s an even bigger title up for grabs and it starts in Lubbock.

“Obviously, they’re really good to be playing now,” Blankenship said. “We’ve got some homework to do tonight and tomorrow and preparation starts as soon as we’re done with this.”

The Eagles will take on the Red Raiders in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Lubbock, Texas, at 7 p.m. EST.

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