WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2011
Women’s soccer returns home to face Kennesaw State and Mercer
Alexandra Lee and the Dolphins will face Kennesaw State on Friday. Play Video
Alexandra Lee and the Dolphins will face Kennesaw State on Friday.
After starting the season with nine of the first 11 games away from home, the JU women’s soccer team will finally enjoy playing on their own campus with a two-game conference homestand starting Friday against Kennesaw State. Kickoff at the Ashley Sports Complex is set for 7 p.m.

Following a one-day respite, the Dolphins will host Mercer on Sunday at 2 p.m. The afternoon tilt is a rematch of last year’s conference tournament championship match in which the Bears won, 1-0.

JU is 5-4-2 overall and 1-0-1 in league competition after collecting four out of a possible six points to start Atlantic Sun Conference play last week. The Dolphins will host an Owls (5-4-1, 1-1-0) squad looking to climb up the conference standings.

The Dolphins are 2-0 this year at the Ashley Sports Complex, posting wins over Furman and Georgia State in early September. Coach Brian Copham’s team will close the regular season with five of the last seven matches at home.

“Kennesaw State has been one of the perennial powers of the conference,” Copham said. “They always have tough teams and we expect them to be one of the contenders. We’ll have a tough game on our hands.”

Last Time Out for JU The Dolphins started A-Sun play in strong fashion, recording a 3-1 win over Stetson and playing through two lightning delays to earn a point with a 0-0 tie at FGCU. Playing the Eagles represented a difficult early league test for the Dolphins, as FGCU went 8-0-2 against the A-Sun in 2010.

“I was pleased with how we were able to fight back,” Copham said. “We had a couple of spells where we got a little disorganized and we were able to sort those issues out. Anytime you play the reigning regular season champions, it’s going to be a big game.

“But we viewed it as another game for us. We have our own goals and every weekend we have to do our part to reach those goals.”

Scouting the Owls

Kennesaw State split the first two games of its opening conference weekend, falling to Belmont before defeating Lipscomb, 4-0. Freshman midfielder Katrina Frost has emerged as Kennesaw’s main offensive threat, scoring 10 of her team’s 23 total goals for a goal-per-game average. Senior forward Alyssa Mahan has been one of the best playmakers for the Owls, scoring two goals and adding five assists for nine points. Kennesaw has split time between goalkeepers, though junior Mel Hutto has received the bulk of playing time, going 5-3-1 in nine games.

Fin Notes

Sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Sierra continued her stellar season, notching her fourth shutout with a six-save effort at FGCU to preserve a scoreless tie. Sierra has also blanked Northern Colorado, Furman, Florida Atlantic. In her first year as a starter, Sierra has not allowed more than two goals in any game this season. She will carry a 0.87 goals-against average and a .853 save percentage into Friday.

Freshman Kaitlyn Bassett had a career-best game in her A-Sun debut. In JU’s league opener at Stetson, Bassett scored two second-half goals to lead the Dolphins to a 3-1 win over the Hatters. Bassett scored twice in a 5:12 span, recording her first career game-winning goal in the process thanks to her first strike in the 59th minute.

Sophomore Alexandra Lee has been part of a stellar JU defense. Lee played all 90 minutes in a win over Stetson, contributing to a unit that limited the Hatters to just 10 total shots and two shots-on-goal.

Junior Arianne Heaton also has logged significant minutes on the back line. Overall, the Dolphins are holding opponents to a 0.62 shooting percentage and a goals-per-game average under one (0.91). For her efforts, Heaton was named one of 11 national “primetime players of the week” by CollegeSoccer360.com for the period of Sept. 19-25.

Senior midfielder Liz Fink is tied with Bassett for the team lead in goals with three. Fink has two game-winning goals this season (against Furman and FAU) and her 53 shots are 28 more than the next closest teammate.

Fans who cannot make it out to the game can follow the action through live stats on JUDolphins.com and watch the video stream through ASun.TV.

- By Brian Bohl