JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Senior midfielder Nick Rodriguez was not going to allow River City rival’s North Florida to come into Southern Oak and take a W. Deadlocked at 1-1 on Rodriguez’ late goal, the teams battled in two periods of extended play before agreeing to tie. With the draw, the Dolphins gain a point and improve to 4-10-2 overall and 2-4-1 in the Atlantic Sun.
The first half of the match was quiet on both sides. Combining for six shots with only two on target, the Ospreys entered the half with a slight 4-2 shot advantage.
Rodriguez nearly put the Fins on board in the 35th minute when his header rattled off of the crossbar. He had the JU crowd on its feet but the referees didn’t signal for the goal.
Things quickly picked up in the second frame as the Ospreys took a 1-0 lead twenty minutes into the half when Jake Frahm passed it to Sylwester Szczesniewicz in the box for the score.
With about 15 minutes remaining in regulation and UNF still in the lead, Dolphin Head Coach Ryan Pratt made the tactical decision to add a striker in the game. For a more attacking presence, Pratt brought off sophomore defender Hadi Alnaeemi and added sophomore forward Nathan Dalton.
Five minutes later, his substitution paid dividends. With 9:53 on the clock, a series of short combination passes between junior forward Matheus Saroli and Dalton at the top of the penalty area gave Rodriguez the opportunity to draw the team level.
“We don’t lose to UNF,” said Rodriguez. “We worked the ball around, Nate knocked it through and I got the one touch finish.”
Senior keeper Gavin Carlin put in a solid performance on the night as he finished with four saves.
“We still control our own destiny,” said Pratt. “We didn’t get the desired result with the win but we’ve kept ourselves alive in the tournament hunt. If we win, we’re in.”
“One more home match- senior night,” added Rodriguez. “We hope to get a good result; we have to make the tournament and we have to win. It could possibly be my last game; I want to keep playing as long as I can. Why not go for one more?”
“We got one game left and we certainly need all the support
we can muster,” continued Pratt. “Saturday at 7 p.m. let’s have this place rocking
and rolling and nice and loud for these seniors and their last home game of
The Dolphins return to Southern Oak on Saturday, Oct. 9 for the final home match of the season when they take on Stetson at 7 p.m.