Conrad’s historic hat trick sends Dolphins to A-Sun Finals with win over Kennesaw State, 3-0
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After 13 days of rest, the No. 1 JU women’s soccer team came out firing in the semifinals of the 2010 Women’s Soccer A-Sun Championship by downing Kennesaw State, 3-0, on the back of freshman forward Courtney Conrad’s hat trick.

Conrad’s hat trick for the Dolphins (13-4-2, 8-1-1 A-Sun) is the first in tournament history by a freshman. The Owls (8-8-3, 5-4-1) will head back to Kennesaw, Ga. with JU winning the season series, 2-0. The Dolphins will now face No. 2 Mercer on Saturday for the championship.

“This was a great win for us,” said JU head coach Brian Copham. “I was very proud of our effort both on the offensive and defensive side. We’re going to get back out again tomorrow and prepare for Saturday’s final.”

The match could have had a completely different outcome if junior goalie Alexa Rooney was unable to make a spectacular point-blank save in the second minute off a Kennesaw State header.

The Dolphins, fueled by the save, almost scored the first goal of the game in the ninth minute when a goal was called back for offside. Senior defender Devon Dowell played a great ball to sophomore midfielder Becca Massip down the right side and her cross found sophomore forward Lisa Hensley whose flick found the back of the net.

JU would continue to apply pressure and it paid off in the 17th minute when junior midfielder Jessica Hurtado played Conrad down the left side and her finish found goal as she was taken down.

The green and gold would double the score in the 52nd minute when sophomore forward Eva Leeper barreled down the right side and played a ball into the middle to Conrad who again finished cleanly as she was taken down.

Conrad narrowly missed her hat trick in the 69th minute when her shot just missed the upright but she finished it off by beating the goalie to a rolling ball and finished on a zero-angle shot to become the third player in A-Sun Tournament history to record a hat trick (Stine Kloster, JU, 1998; Amy Geltz, UCF, 1994).

The Dolphins are now 10-0-4 in their last 14 matches at home with their last loss coming last year at the hands of Mercer on Oct. 2.

For the 12th time in 13 years, the No. 1 seed has made the finals and this is the sixth time in eight years that the A-Sun Finals will be played between the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds; in those five matches, the No. 1 seed is 3-0-2.

Saturday afternoon will also mark the 13th time in 17 years that the host team has appeared in the title game where the home side has gone 7-3-2.

Saturday’s match will take place at 1 p.m. at the Ashley Sports Complex and will be streamed free of charge on A-Sun.TV.