MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2009
Men’s soccer releases 2009 schedule
The JU men’s soccer team looks to make another run back to the NCAA Tournament starting on Sept. 1 at Florida Atlantic, as the Dolphins announce their 2009 schedule.

The Dolphins, who made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago, hosts Tampa for a home exhibition on Aug. 19 and heads to play Flagler on Aug. 24 for another tune up before the season opener against the former conference rival Owls in Boca Raton, Fla.

“This is a very challenging schedule for us,” said JU head coach Mike Johnson. “We have a good balance of opponents, which will help prepare us to compete for another conference championship. Since we did well last season, we will have a target on our back so we have to be ready to play each time out. I can’t wait to get started and try to make another run at earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament.”

Following the trip to play Florida Atlantic, the Dolphins travel to Boiling Springs, N.C. on Sept. 4 for the Gardner-Webb/Umbro Tournament to play Winthrop and the host Bulldogs.

JU faces in-state rival UCF in the home opener on Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. before traveling to DeLand, Fla. to play St. Joseph’s (Sept. 18) and Hofstra (Sept. 20) in Stetson’s tournament.

The Dolphins close the early season tournament slate at home when they host Alabama A&M and College of Charleston for the JU/Nike Invitational starting Sept. 25.

The first part of October is tilted in the Dolphins’ favor as they play their first three Atlantic Sun matches at home. JU opens the slate with Stetson on Oct. 2 and rounds out the weekend against Florida Gulf Coast.

Following a week off, the Dolphins will host conference and cross-town rival North Florida on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. The teams will also battling for the Dennis Violett Memorial Cup, which JU won back last season after a 1-0 victory at UNF.

After a trip to play at FIU (Oct. 12), JU heads to Nashville beginning Oct. 16 for a pivotal part of the A-Sun schedule to face Belmont and Lipscomb. The Dolphins finish the home schedule with USC Upstate (Oct. 23) and East Tennessee State (Oct. 25).

JU plays Mercer in Macon, Ga. on Oct 29 before closing out the regular season with the much highly anticipated match at Campbell on Oct. 31. This game will be a rematch of last’s years A-Sun championship match where the Dolphins rallied from a 3-1 halftime deficit to earn a 4-3 victory over the host Camels to win the title and earn a berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Like the women’s side, the A-Sun tournament will also stretch into a two-weekend format. The bottom four teams of the six-team tournament will play at the two highest seeds home fields for the first round matches starting Nov. 7.

The No. 1 seed hosts the remaining four teams after the first round for the conference semifinals on Nov. 12. The final two teams will square off in the A-Sun championship game on Nov. 14.

In 2008, the Dolphins posted double-digit wins for the second consecutive year with a 12-9-1 overall record and had a 7-2 record in A-Sun play. JU came into its own at the A-Sun tournament after rallying in the final minutes to down Lipscomb and Campbell to claim the championship title and spot in the NCAA Tournament.

In the NCAA Tournament, the Dolphins played comeback kids again by rallying for a 4-3 overtime win at Louisville before falling to eventual national runner up North Carolina, 1-0.