JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For much of the second half, it looked like Kaitlyn Bassett’s first half goal would hold up and allow the Jacksonville University women’s soccer team to sweep its final weekend of non-conference action. But a goal from Furman in the final 15 minutes of regulation tied the match and forced overtime, where the Paladins were able to win as a ball deflected off a JU defender and in, gifting the visitors a 2-1 overtime decision. The Dolphins enter Atlantic Sun play next weekend with a record of 5-4-0.
Furman had the majority of possession the first 10 minutes, but Jacksonville responded with a flurry of shots after a Jessica Cataldo-Ramirez corner kick. Lindsay Forrest had two shots in rapid succession that couldn’t make it through a crowd. That was followed by two efforts from Marie Weckhurst, one of which forced a save from Rose Hull to finally clear the danger. Jacksonville nearly took the lead again after 25 minutes when Weckhurst found Bassett at point blank range, only for the forward to see the flag raised as she was played just offside.
The Dolphins broke through right at the half-hour mark. Joy Grove earned JU a corner kick after whipping in a cross that wasn’t dealt with properly by the Paladins. Cataldo-Ramirez took the corner and had the ball cleared across the field, but Miranda Fyfe was there and swung a ball to the back post where Bassett connected solidly with her head, putting Jacksonville on top. The goal was Bassett’s 20th of her career.
Jacksonville nearly extended the lead in the opening 15 minutes of the second half when Cataldo-Ramirez was given space to dribble from the halfway line nearly all the way to the 18-yard box. As Furman finally tried to close her down, she shot low and to the right corner, only barely seeing her effort trickle wide at the last moment.
Sarah Sierra was everywhere in net for the Dolphins on Sunday. As the Paladins mounted pressure on the back line of Jacksonville’s defense, Sierra kept JU on top with a pair of diving saves in the space of two minutes on Furman’s Jamie Alexander. The first shot – a header towards the top right corner – would have been a goal against many other keepers, but Sierra anticipated it well and sprawled to punch it clear.
When the Paladins finally tied it, it came on a run of play almost completely similar to the one that produced JU’s goal. Late in the 78th minute, Furman won a corner kick. The ball came out to the opposite side of the field and gave India Robinson time to play a cross back post to Stephanie DeVita. Her unmarked header gave Sierra no chance for another circus save, tying the match just as rain began to steadily fall, soaking the field for the remainder of regulation and overtime.
The end came unexpectedly, with Furman playing a long ball forward from midfield. Though the Paladins had little going on up front, JU defenders attempted to clear the ball, only to see it shoot off the wrong side of a boot and spin past Sierra as she dove to keep it out.
Despite the loss, Head Coach Brian Copham took some positives out of the match. “I’m pleased with our work and our fight and our competitive nature today. This is a good team we played against and it was good preparation for us as we head into conference play.”
Jacksonville travels to Florida Gulf Coast on Friday night for a highly-anticipated matchup at 7 p.m. On Sunday, the Dolphins close out the first weekend of A-Sun play with a 1 p.m. match at Stetson. Sunday’s game with the Hatters will be available for free on ASun.TV.