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Fassnidge Header Lifts Eastern Florida Past Polk, 1-0

Sept. 30, 2013 - After 109 minutes and 20 seconds of soccer and after 37 shots – 22 of them on goal – Eastern Florida State College's women's soccer team put the ball in the net and escaped with a 1-0 home victory over stubborn Polk State College on Monday night.

The double overtime victory on a header by sophomore defender Jess Fassnidge – more on her in a moment – improved Eastern Florida's record to 7-2-1 but more importantly put the Titans one step closer to a postseason berth.

Eastern Florida has now beaten Florida College System Activities Association/NJCAA Region 8 foe Polk twice, the first time 4-1, also in Melbourne, and also owns a victory over FCSAA/Region 8 foe Broward College. The three teams play each other three times each to determine which one team advances to the postseason.

Eastern Florida can claim the bid for the third time in three seasons by beating Broward on Friday, Oct. 11 on the Melbourne Campus. Admission is free.

It was a Fassnidge header off a free kick that gave the Titans a 3-1 lead in the tight-for-a-while first victory over Polk and it was Fassnidge again on Monday, this time off a corner kick from classmate and fellow defender Heather Williams.

That Fassnidge was even in the game was a credit to her being what head coach Jeff Carr called a gamer. Fassnidge has missed time due to injury and did not get back on the practice field until yesterday. And she did not get into Monday's game until the second half and fortunately for the Titans once again put herself in the right place at the right time.

"The effort was unbelievable," Carr said of Fassnidge, who is a co-captain with classmate and dominant midfielder Sue Kumaning. "She's not much taller than some of the other girls but she elevates and gets a head on it."

As for Williams' defensive efforts and her winning assist: "Her talent athletically, she could be the best player on the field," Carr said. "She's very gifted. She was the only freshman in the country who was an All-American last year.

"(Also) Sue Kumaning played a fantastic game. It was her best game of the year. She's healthy now."

And while Fassnidge is still returning to health - she walked off the field wrapped in two ice bags - she knew what was at stake for the Titans and how important the outcome was.

"It was a great ball in," Fassnidge said. "We worked hard. We went to the end. It was a tough game especially knowing Polk would come here knowing if they win this game it's all open. We had to just prove a point.

"We proved that good teams always work hard and finish off in the end. This is a huge win. If we had drawn this game or if we'd had lost . . . We need to carry on now. I know it's been tough. We need to get this out of the way."

Carr shared Fassnidge's sentiments.

"It was frustrating," Carr said. "We couldn't finish. Our first touch was off. Effort wise they (Polk) had the better effort. They were stuck in, they were committed. They tried to win every 50-50 ball. We were very hesitant. It's going to catch up to us at some point.

"I'm glad we got the job done but 40 seconds left in the second overtime to get it done."

Sophomore Katelyn Kern played the entire game in goal for Eastern Florida turning back the four shots Polk managed. The victory was the fourth straight shutout for Eastern Florida. Polk fell to 5-4 on the season.