Dominating second half lifts women’s soccer to win over Coastal Carolina
Ending games strongly has been the hallmark of many quality squads. The JU women’s soccer team showed it has the potential to perform at its best in the late stages as the Dolphins posted a season-opening 2-1 win over Coastal Carolina in a non-conference matchup at UNF’s Hodges Stadium on Friday night.

Freshman Jessica Cataldo-Ramirez tallied her first collegiate goal in just her first official NCAA game and assisted on junior Eva Leeper’s game-winning tally as the Dolphins erased a 1-0 deficit to win its first game of the year in the opening leag of the UNF Tournament.

JU held a 23-5 advantage in shots, including a 14-0 edge in the second half as the Chanticleers struggled to mount a comeback attempt.

“I was pleased with the effort,” head coach Brian Copham said. “I thought we played extremely well in the second half. We generated some good chances and were able to convert some of them and that was the difference.”

Coastal Carolina, which won the Big South regular season championship last year, took the early lead when Christina Stern scored in the 38th minute from the left corner of the box and fired a shot into the far post.

But JU responded almost seven minutes later thanks to Cataldo-Ramirez’s great individual effort. The first-year midfielder intercepted a pass in the box and buried a shot in the lower-left corner for the equalizer with just 1:11 seconds left before halftime.

Coming out of the break, the Dolphins scored 9:35 seconds in when Leeper capitalized on another good play from Cataldo-Ramirez. Leeper gained control just outside the box a buried a low left-hand shot from 12 yards out.

Leeper, who played in 18 matches a sophomore, already matched her goal total from 2010. The Dolphins made her scoring strike stand up, providing a suffocating defense that held Coastal Carolina without a shot attempt in the final 45 minutes.

Sophomore goalie Sarah Sierra earned the win in her first collegiate start, posting one save in playing all 90 minutes.

The Dolphins will close out the second leg of the tournament on Sunday against UNC Charlotte at noon.