Five Eagles named CSC Academic All-District

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FORT MYERS, FL. – Five FGCU women’s soccer standouts received College Sports Communicators (CSC) Academic All-District honors, announced Tuesday. graduates Margaret Berry (Holly, Mich.) and Katie Sullivan (Wheaton, Illinois), juniors Leah Scarpelli (Brick, NJ) and Louise Lillback (Stockholm, Sweden) and in the second year Ashley Labbe (Lake Worth, Florida) all received this award for the first time in their careers.

“Very proud of this women’s group,” said the head coach Jim Blankenship. “They’ve put in a lot of work in the field throughout the year and that just goes to show how much they’ve done in the classroom too. They all have a very bright future ahead of them.”

To qualify for CSC, formerly CoSIDA, Academic All-District status, student-athletes had to be a starter or major reserve, have a 3.50 GPA, and compete in at least half of their team’s competitions. Schools were allowed to nominate up to six players for the award, and unlike previous years, all qualified nominees received all-district status, resulting in 903 all-district selections in Division I.

With the five players selected this year, the Eagles have doubled the number of Academic All-District Honorees in their program history, joining Brittany Brown (2015), Ashley Parks (2017), Opal Curless (2019), Lindsey Patton (2019). and Evdokia Popadinova (2019).

Scarpelli was named ASUN Defensive Player of the Year for knocking out some of ASUN’s and the nation’s best players throughout the year. Also on offense she contributed with five goals and a team-leading team six assists. Four of their goals were game-winning, while their fifth goal of the season gave the Eagles the lead in the semifinals of the ASUN Tournament against Lipscomb before the Eagles won in overtime. In the classroom, she has a 3.77 GPA while studying Integrated Studies.

Lillback added another great season to her FGCU career in 2022, leading the team with eight goals and also contributing with five assists en route to All-ASUN First Team designation. In her career, she has scored 34 goals for the Greens and Blues, the second-most all-time, while recording the third-most points with 77. She was also named to the ASUN All-Academic Team for her GPA of 3.57 majoring in Communications.

After a season-ending injury in 2021, Labbe returned with her best season with the Eagles, amassing 16 points on six goals and four assists. She was the only player with the Eagles in more than one multiple goal game, scoring braces against both Southern and Bellarmine. After the season, she earned a spot on the All-ASUN First Team for the second straight year. In the classroom, she has a 3.71 GPA while studying health sciences.

Sullivan ended her collegiate career with a great season, playing in goal every minute of every game for the Eagles. She was strong all year, clinching it in conference play when she conceded just six goals in 10 games and had a .867 save percentage en route to All-ASUN third-team designation. Sullivan clinched the ASUN Championship for the Eagles in the title game at Liberty when they made a fifth-round penalty save to send FGCU to the NCAA tournament for the seventh time in program history. In class, she has a 3.71 GPA while pursuing her master’s degree in Info Systems & Analytics.

Berry joined the Eagles as a graduate transfer this season and made an immediate impression, starting all 20 games for the Greens and Blues on the defensive line. In the ASUN game, the Eagles allowed just .60 goals per game and just 4.6 shots on target per contest. A high-flyer in the penalty area, she played a key role not only in defense but also in offense, as all three of her goals this season have come from corner kicks, including two in the ASUN tournament, the winner against North Florida in the quarterfinals and the equalizer against Liberty in the title game. In class, she is currently pursuing her MBA.


For full coverage of FGCU women’s soccer, follow the Eagles on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FGCU_WSoccer and online at www.FGCUAthletics.com. You can also sign up at www.fgcuathletics.com/email to receive updates on FGCU women’s soccer and other programs delivered straight to your inbox.

COACH JIM BLANKENSHIP
A veteran of over two decades in college coaching, Head Coach Jim Blankenship, who was named ASUN Coach of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2019, has transformed FGCU women’s soccer into an annual ASUN conference contender and a burgeoning program in the Southern Region in just 16 seasons. Blankenship started the program in 2007 and has led the Eagles to double-digit winning seasons every year since except for the COVID-shortened 2020 season, which culminated with ASUN Regular Season Championships 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. In 2011 and 2012, he also led the Eagles to back-to-back ASUN tournament titles as they became the first team in university history to make the NCAA tournament. The Eagles won the 2014 ASUN tournament and hosted the first NCAA championship event on campus. The Eagles earned their fourth NCAA tournament appearance with the 2015 ASUN Tournament Championship and won their first NCAA game at USF in 2015 while finishing 24th in the nation. In 2016, the Eagles made it to the NCAA tournament three straight times with a third straight ASUN tournament title. A year later, the Eagles became the first ASUN women’s soccer program to host four straight NCAA tournaments in 2017 with one additional tournament title. Blankenship has led FGCU to an overall record of 196-75-30 (.701) in the first 16 seasons of the program’s existence, including a 101-20-16 (.799) mark in the ASUN. Blankenship’s impressive career record of 436-146-41 (.733) over 32 seasons was set while he led FGCU, University of Miami, Lynn University and St. Thomas University.

EAGLE CAMPAIGN

IT TAKES A TEAM to achieve our latest goal – a $10 million campaign to address the needs of students and athletes for continued academic success, life skills, mental health, nutrition, and strength and conditioning, and the needs of departments in expanding and improving of institutions as well as mentoring and leadership training for trainers and employees. The name embodies our mission and purpose of the EAGLE campaign – Eagle Athletics Generating Lifetime Excellence. Join our team and pledge your gift today to help the eagles of tomorrow!

#FEEDFGCU
FGCU Athletics sponsors events in November and April benefiting the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), FGCU Athletics’ preferred charities. For more information, including how you can contribute, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and use the hashtag #FeedFGCU to raise awareness.

ABOUT FGCU
FGCU teams have won an incredible 93 regular conference season and tournament titles in just 15 seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, the Eagles have contested a total of 45 teams or individuals in NCAA championships in just 11 seasons of DI postseason eligibility. In 2022, the men’s golf team became the first program to earn at large at the NCAA tournament. Eight FGCU programs have earned a national top-25 ranking in their respective sports — including women’s basketball (No. 20, 2021-22), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2022), and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer ( 2018) as four of the youngest. In 2016-17, the Greens and Blues finished in the division’s best sixth place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and made the top-100 nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had the top seven teams from ASUN and Florida to earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their rate of academic progress in their sport. FGCU also achieved a combined record 3.50 GPA in the classroom for the Fall 2020 semester and has surpassed the university’s general student population for 26 consecutive semesters. In the past five semesters (Fall 2019 – Spring 2022), another milestone was reached as all 15 programs achieved a cumulative team GPA of 3.0 or higher. The Eagles also contributed an all-time high of 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 and were recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.

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