STATESBORO, Ga. – With two goals in the final seven minutes of the match, the Jacksonville University women’s soccer team flipped the script on the Georgia Southern Eagles on Friday night, coming away with a 2-1 victory to close out a stretch of four matches away from home with three hard-earned victories.
With the referee swallowing his whistle on a number of occasions, the result was a wide-open first 45 minutes. Both teams had their chances to find the back of the net, but they went into the break scoreless. It took five saves from Sarah Sierra to keep the Eagles off the board, though almost all of their chances were forced from well outside the 18-yard box.
On the other side of the field, Jacksonville had its best chances end wide of the goal. Both Lindsay Forrest and Kaitlyn Bassett had shots from in close that were wide left in the first half. In the final five minutes before the break, Ally Lee played a long ball forward to Bassett, who was able to chip a ball over the goalie and score, only to see the goal nullified by a close offside call that went against the Dolphins.
Cori Dulmage had the opening goal in the 52nd minute after a failed Jacksonville clearance left Sierra out of position in net. JU responded back immediately with four clear scoring chances in the next 10 minutes. It all began immediately on the restart, with Bassett breaking in on goal by herself and forcing a save from keeper Heather Kirkover. Moments later, Sarah Moghadas dribbled into the box from deep in the right corner, crossing a ball across the face of goal to Ashley Poirier, who had her effort sail high. Jessica Cataldo-Ramirez got in on the act in the 57th minute on a free kick that grazed the bar, once again challenging Kirkover. Bassett closed out the JU response with a similar effort to the first half, running onto a ball played over the top but staying onside. With the defense and keeper both collapsing on her, her shot attempt was saved by the legs of a sliding Kirkover to keep the Dolphins off the board.
Georgia Southern weathered Jacksonville’s assault and settled back in. With the minutes dwindling away, the Dolphins managed to find the extra gear they needed late in the match. The tying goal came in the 84th minute as Moghadas repeated her run from earlier in the half, dribbling in from the right corner and sending a low pass through the six-yard box. No Jacksonville player could control it for the tap-in, but Bassett corralled the pass on the opposite side and played it into the middle, where Cataldo-Ramirez was unmarked from near the penalty spot. Her shot into the upper right corner tied the match and appeared to have things on course for JU’s third extra session of the season. However, having finally capitalized on their numerous chances, the Dolphins had other ideas.
Just more than a minute later, Mary Sturgis slotted a long pass forward to Moghadas down the right. Though Kirkover advanced forward to cut down the angle on the shot, Moghadas found just enough space to slide the ball past her, gently settling it into the lower left corner for the game-winner with five minutes remaining. The Jacksonville defense took care of the rest, now allowing GSU to even attempt a shot the remainder of the match.
"We knew coming in tonight that we would have to compete for the full 90 minutes and I'm very proud of the resiliency our girls showed," said Head Coach Brian Copham. "We had to dig our way out of a hole and I thought it showed a lot of character to not give in with the time running out. On the bench, it felt like we had those scores in us, but things don't always work out that way in a given game. Fortunately tonight it did."
Improving to 4-2-0 on the season, the Dolphins come home to the River City on Sunday to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The match from Southern Oak Stadium will get going at 2 p.m.