Women’s soccer nets first three goals in A-Sun win over Belmont
Raquel Weckhurst scored two goals iin a JU win over Belmont. Play Video
Raquel Weckhurst scored two goals iin a JU win over Belmont.
Sophomore forward Raquel Weckhurst scored two goals – including a penalty-kick marker— and freshman Kaitlyn Bassett added a scoring strike to push the Dolphins to a 3-1 victory over Belmont in an Atlantic Sun Conference-matchup on Sunday afternoon at the Ashley Sports Complex.

The Dolphins built a 26-11 edge in shot in winning for the fourth time in the past five games to improve to 10-5-2 and 6-1-1 in A-Sun play. Belmont fell to 6-7-1 and 3-3-1.

JU moved to 6-0 at home, out-scoring opponents by a 10-2 margin on its own field. The Dolphins have gone unbeaten in seven of their last eight games overall.

“They came out again and played at a really high level from the start,” JU coach Brian Copham said. “Sometimes that good start is tough on a hot afternoon, but we had high energy and a good work ethic.”

Bassett continued her stellar first season, opening the scoring 13:02 in when she scored off a Emily Culbreth’s cross about seven yards out near the right post. Bassett’s marker was her sixth goal of the season.

Weckhurst has formed the other half a youthful forward duo for the Dolphins. The West Hills, Calif. native registered her fifth and sixth goals of the season to tie Bassett for the team lead.

In the 23rd minute, Weckhurst raced past a defender near the top-left side of the box . Belmont goalkeeper Nicole Berner dived out to challenge the play, grabbing the ball but colliding with Weckhurst in the process.

The officials awarded Weckhurst a penalty kick and the forward delivered with a low left-side shot for a 2-0 lead.

Just 2:03 after halftime, Weckhurst picked up her second goal on a rebound shot near the right post. Senior midfielder Liz Fink rocketed a shot that Berner knocked down with a diving save. But the netminder was moved out of position for the rebound attempt, giving Weckhurst her first career two-goal game and a point in five of her last six contests.

“We challenged the team at halftime to not be satisfied with just two goals,” Copham said. “We wanted them to continue to press and we came out with a good start to the second half. Belmont is a good team and tough to play against and it was a difficult second half, but it made us better.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Sierra made one save and did not allow a goal in 63:29 before getting a rest. The Dolphins inserted backup goalkeeper Susanne Kluntveit, who made one save in 26:31. Berner logged seven saves for Belmont.

The Bruins broke the JU combined shutout bid in the 66th minute when Gretchen Sutch scored near the left post after Laura Harris’ header attempt was blocked. Sutch tied Taylor Smith for the Belmont lead in goals with three and has a team-best nine points.

The Dolphins have already secured a spot in the six-team A-Sun Tournament and will look to close the regular season on a strong note when they host UNF in a SunTrust River City Rumble contest on Friday at 7 p.m. The game will also honor the team’s seniors in their last home appearance.

- By Brian Bohl