FORT MYERS, Fla. – Senior Elisabeth Sullivan scored her fifth goal of the season and CJ Winship made seven saves, but a goal seconds before halftime and another in the final moments of regulation propelled host Florida Gulf Coast to a 2-1 win in the Embassy Suites Classic championship game Sunday afternoon in Fort Myers, Fla.
Mississippi State (2-2) struck first for the third-straight match as Sullivan took freshman Annebel ten Broeke’s pass, beat a defender and struck her 28th-career goal low past FGCU keeper Brittany Brown.
Senior CJ Winship made four of her seven saves in the first half to keep MSU in front the majority of the opening half.
Sullivan, ten Broeke and Winship were all named to the Embassy Suites Classic All-Tournament Team.
“It was very hot out there today. Annebel and Elisabeth continue to show that they are a dangerous combination as they connected for another goal,” Aaron Gordon said. “Florida Gulf Coast created a lot of opportunities, but CJ Winship made some fantastic saves that kept us in the game.”
Ten Broeke, an Amsterdam, Netherlands, native, collected the third assist of her young career. For Sullivan, it was her school-record sixth-straight game with a goal.
Florida Gulf Coast (2-1-1) went back on the attack, but MSU managed to fight off their offensive chances. State countered with a pair of shots from sophomore Mary Kathryn Taylor, but both were stopped by FGCU goalie Brittany Brown.
Winship and a Bulldog back line that was playing together for just the second time, made the lead hold until Florida Gulf Coast’s Kaitlin Parker knocked in a rebound, her first goal of the season, to equalize with 40 seconds left before halftime.
Mississippi State came out looking to break the tie early in the second half, but ten Broeke had a pair of early on-goal opportunities turned away by Brown, who ended the afternoon with six stops.
Florida Gulf Coast had a chance to take the lead in the 60th minute on a Tessa Burger penalty kick, but Winship stopped it and a follow-up from Shannen Wacker.
Mississippi State created a pair of scoring opportunities in the final 30 minutes, but a try from sophomore Halee Heltsley was saved by Brown and a shot from Sullivan moments later banged off the crossbar.
“We sorted some things out at halftime and played much better in the second half. We played hard, but maybe the heat got to us at the end and we didn’t clear a corner far enough out. I don’t think CJ saw the ball in time, or else she probably makes the save,” Gordon said of the winning goal. “We fought to the very end. It was a slow start in the first half, but we played better in the second half and maybe deserved a better result. Unfortunately, we didn’t play well enough to get the result.”
FGCU netted the winner in the 86th minute when Paulina Speckmaier beat Winship top shelf with the winner.
FGCU out-shot the Bulldogs 25-10, but the Eagles only held a 9-7 edge in on-goal chances. State earned five corner kicks in the contest to 10 from Florida Gulf Coast.Embassy Suites Classic All-Tournament Team
MVP: Ally Kasun, FGCU
Paulina Speckmaier, FGCU
Emma Blackwell, FGCU
Tabby Tindell, FGCU
CJ Winship, Mississippi State
Elisabeth Sullivan, Mississippi State
Annebel ten Broeke, Mississippi State
Rachel Locke, Davidson
Becca Fisher, Davidson
Claire Emslie, FAUYazmin Ongtengco, FAU