FGCU dominates A-Sun women’s soccer awards

MACON, Ga. – On the heels of a sixth-straight Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship, the FGCU women’s soccer team saw a league-best eight players earn 2015 A-Sun All-Conference honors, as announced by the conference Thursday afternoon.

Junior Tabby Tindell was named the A-Sun Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season, while senior Emma Blackwell was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year, also for the second year in a row. Head coach Jim Blankenship earned the league’s coaches’ vote as Coach of the Year for an A-Sun record fourth-straight season.

Along with Tindell (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic High School) and Blackwell (Jenks, Okla./Jenks High School), the Eagles saw two others earn A-Sun First Team All-Conference accolades in Ally Kasun (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield High School) and Nikki Hudson (Baltimore, Md./Roland Park County School/Rutgers), while Shea Rhoney (Lithia, Fla./Newsome High School) and Paulina Speckmaier (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) earned Second Team All-Conference and rookies Camille Knudstrup (Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins High School) and Darien Davis (New Port Richey, Fla./River Ridge High School) were named to the All-Freshmen Team.

With eight players honored in addition to Blankenship, nine individuals stands as the program’s record for A-Sun postseason recognition.

“I’m really pleased with the recognitions announced today,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “These players have set a standard for our program and it’s a great honor to be recognized by the coaches in the conference.”

Blankenship becomes the league’s first-ever four-time A-Sun Coach of the Year recipient, after previously earning the vote from his peers in 2012, 2013 and 2014. FGCU’s only head coach holds a record of 112-41-19 with the Eagles including an A-Sun mark of 60-9-10 and has produced an impressive career record of 352-112-30 over 25 seasons.

At the helm of the Green and Blue, Blankenship has guided the Eagles to nine double-digit win seasons, highlighted by six-straight A-Sun Regular Season Championships and three A-Sun Conference Championships with NCAA Tournament appearances in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Tindell earned the A-Sun Player of the Year nod for the second-straight season and becomes just the third player in A-Sun history to win the honor in back-to-back seasons. She also stands as one of just two players unanimously voted to the All-Conference First Team this season and joins that list for the third time in three seasons. The junior currently leads the conference and ranks fifth nationally with 38 points through 16 games played this season. She has scored 15 goals for the sixth-best mark in the nation and adds eight assists with six game-winning goals to lead the conference in all offensive categories.

Tindell broke the FGCU program record for career points earlier this season and currently tops the list by nearly 40 at 120 total career points. The impressive point total also breaks into the top-10 among all-time A-Sun players through the league’s 22-year history. Through just three seasons, Tindell has scored 50 goals and now ranks sixth all-time in among the Atlantic Sun’s record book and tops the FGCU program record by 22 goals.

The forward was named the 2013 A-Sun Freshman of the Year and earned First Team accolades during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. She also earned the A-Sun Player of the Week award four times this season and holds the league record with 10 career nods.

As the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Blackwell becomes the first player ever to repeat with the league’s highest defensive honor and takes home First Team accolades for the third-consecutive season. The senior stands as FGCU’s fifth Defensive honoree in the last six seasons. As a freshman, the defender was a Second Team honoree, making her one of just six previous players to earn All Conference distinction in all four years of her collegiate career.

Blackwell joins Tindell as the league’s only unanimous First Team selections. The centerback started all 18 games of the regular season and played a team-high 1,684 minutes this season. With Blackwell’s leadership and skill, the FGCU back line stopped nearly all opponent advances this season, allowing opponents to just 60 shots on target all year.

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