Wednesday, June 19, 2013
MACON, Ga. – The old adage that offense wins games, but defense wins championships reigned supreme in the 2012 Atlantic Sun Women’s Soccer season.
Mercer and FGCU ranked first and second in the A-Sun for goals allowed as the Bears surrendered only 13 goals in 21 games, which ranked as fifth-fewest in conference history. The Eagles’ opponents found the net on 17 occasions in 21 games - good for 17th-lowest all-time.
FGCU finished first in the regular season with a 7-1-1 record for its third-straight A-Sun Regular-Season title and the No. 1 seed in the A-Sun Championship, while Mercer took runner-up honors with a 6-1-2 mark to earn the No. 2 seed.
The stout defenses for the Eagles and Bears found the two teams in the A-Sun Championship Final for the second-consecutive season. Once again, FGCU was able to find the net in extra time as the Eagles won 1-0 in the first overtime session for their second-straight conference crown.
In 2011, freshman Shannen Wacker tallied the decisive goal in double overtime to send the Eagles to the NCAA Championship. One year later, another freshman – Ally Kasun – delivered the match-clinching goal.
In order to reach the A-Sun title match, FGCU dispelled No. 5 Jacksonville, 2-0, while Mercer trumped No. 6 North Florida, 3-0. Both the Dolphins and Ospreys pulled upsets in the opening rounds against ETSU and Kennesaw State, respectively, in road matches.
To go along with their top ranked defenses, FGCU and Mercer also ranked in the top three of the conference for total goals. The Bears sat first at 40 goals, while the Eagles’ 37 goals ranked third.
ETSU led the conference in scoring per game as the Buccaneers averaged 2.11 goals/game for 38 on the year. The 2012 A-Sun Player of the Year, Ramey Kerns was responsible for a majority of the goals as she racked up 21 goals and four assists for 46 total points; most in the A-Sun since 2004. Her 21 goals are tied for fifth-most in conference history.
Aiding the Buccaneer attack was Sarah Zadrazil, the A-Sun Freshman of the Year, who ranked seventh in the A-Sun for points (18), while dishing out 10 assists; tied for first in the league.
Kennesaw State and North Florida also lauded potent offenses as the Owls tallied 35 goals just ahead of the Ospreys’ 34. For the second-straight season, KSU’s Katrina Frost registered a double-digit scoring season with 10 this year; the first to do so in the A-Sun since 2009. The Osprey attack was well rounded this season as four players accounted for at least five goals each, while a total of 11 student-athletes picked up at least one goal.
For the second-straight season, the A-Sun ranked as the 22nd-best women’s soccer conference finishing ahead of Big South, Ohio Valley, Horizon, among others.Additional #ASunWSoc Notes: • North Florida won a road game in the A-Sun Championship for the second-straight season with its 3-1 win at Kennesaw State. • KSU’s Katrina Frost was tabbed the A-Sun Scholar-Athlete of the Year as she owns a 3.56 cumulative GPA as an International Affairs major. • FGCU’s Ashley Ciesielczyk landed the A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year award. It marks the third-straight season an Eagle has won the award. • USC Upstate’s Sarah Plantz picked up the first-ever A-Sun Goalkeeper of the Year honor as she stopped a league-best 7.18 shots per game to give the Spartans their first-ever women’s soccer superlative award and first-team honoree. • ETSU's Ramey Kerns tied for the nation's lead in total goals with 21. She also ranked first in points per game and goals per game. • Mercer goalkeeper Maggie Cropp topped the nation's chart for lowest goal against average (0.291) and best save percentage (.923). • FGCU Head Coach Jim Blankenship was named the A-Sun Coach of the Year for the first time in his career as the Eagles finished with a 14-4-3 record. • FGCU squared off with Florida for the second-straight season in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship. The Eagles fell 2-0 to the Gators as Florida advanced to the quarterfinals.