A busy weekend for men's soccer

Nov. 2, 2007

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The JU men's soccer team will host Flagler on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Ashley Sports Complex on Senior Night.

The Dolphins have earned the No. 1 seed in the A-Sun Tournament after clinching the first Atlantic Sun regular season title in their history. Stetson, Campbell, Lipscomb, Belmont and Gardner-Webb also qualified for the tournament that will begin on Nov. 14 in DeLand, Fla.

"Obviously our biggest concern right now is for us to be able to refocus on the remaining two games of the regular season," said JU head coach Mike Johnson. "Flagler beat us last year so we have to approach the game cautiously and raise our level of play to put us in position to win the game."


Seniors Anton Axelsson, Brian Cocciolo, Austin Earl and Drew Lear will be honored before the game during Senior Night as they represent the Dolphins in their final home game of their careers.

"I am extremely proud of these four young men," Johnson said. "They have gotten the opportunity to go out as champions. All four seniors are outstanding students and have earned A-Sun all-academic honors for several years. They will be greatly missed and I appreciate all they have done for the program and I am glad they left their mark on school history."

Forward Axelsson has been red hot this season for the Dolphins as he leads the A-Sun in points (28), points per game (1.75), goals (12) and goals per game (0.75). His points per game and goals per game totals are good for 10th in the league. He now has 84 points and 29 goals in his career and received A-Sun second team all-conference honors last season as a junior.

"Anton Axelsson has had an outstanding playing career here and has been a strong leader both on and off the field. He has put himself in the position to be considered for A-Sun "Player of the Year"."

Defenders Cocciolo and Earl have been mainstays in the Dolphins backline during their careers, with Cocciolo making 70 career starts and Earl making 45. They have been key to the Dolphins five shutout victories this season.

"Brian and Austin are the lone survivors of my first group of players," said Johnson. "They have been steady, consistent and hard-nosed players since their freshman year and have played extremely well this year. Brian has been a good captain for two years. I am glad that their hard work and persistence has paid off for them."

Midfielder Lear transferred to JU after spending his freshman season at IPFW. Lear has appeared in 51 games in his Dolphin career and has scored one goal and tallied one assist.

"Drew transferred here looking to play for a team that could win a championship," Johnson said. "I am happy this has worked out for him."

Axelsson and Earl named to ESPN Academic All-District teams

Senior forward Anton Axelsson and senior defender Austin Earl were named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 3 team announced by the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America on Thursday. Axelsson was named to the first team while Earl received second team honors.

"This is an outstanding honor for Anton and Austin," said JU head coach Mike Johnson. "They represent the type of student-athletes we are trying to build our program around. Their success in the classroom parallels their success this year as players. They are great ambassadors for our program and team and we are extremely proud of both of them."

Axelsson has a 3.98 cumulative GPA and is majoring in philosophy and psychology.Earl has a 3.88 cumulative GPA and is majoring in accounting.

Axelsson will now be in consideration for Academic All-America honors along with the first team recipients from the seven other districts.

Dolphins regionally ranked

After winning the 2007 Atlantic Sun regular season title, the Dolphins are ranked no. 9 in the South Region by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

Thanks in large part to their two shutout victories over Lipscomb and Belmont over the weekend, the Dolphins achieve their highest ranking under head coach Mike Johnson and now have been ranked for three consecutive weeks - another first in Johnson's tenure.

"It is nice to know that our program is being considered as one of the elite in the southeast region," said Johnson. "We hope that we can continue to climb in the rankings as the season comes to a close and finish the season ranked in the top 10." The Dolphins hope to be ranked even higher when the new polls come out on Monday.

Axelsson named to national "Team of the Week"

The Dolphins knew they needed to win both games last weekend against Lipscomb and Belmont to win their first ever Atlantic Sun regular season championship, and thanks a large part to their captain, senior forward Anton Axelsson, the Dolphins did just that, claiming a 3-0 shutout over Lipscomb on Oct. 26 and a 2-0 win over Belmont on Oct. 28. For his part in the victories, Axelsson was named to the College Soccer News National "Team of the Week".

Axelsson scored the decisive first goal against Lipscomb and fired in the second goal against Belmont. He now has five game-winning goals on the season. He leads the A-Sun in points, points per game, goals and goals per game and is in the top 10 nationally in those categories as well.

"Anton has been a great leader for us," Johnson said. "I am proud of everything he has accomplished this season and in his career, and am excited that he is being recognized among the nation's best."