JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville University women’s soccer team (2-1-0) returns to action on Friday night, continuing its stretch of four matches away from Southern Oak Stadium when the Dolphins take on the Georgia Bulldogs at 7 p.m. JU closes out the weekend on Sunday at 2 p.m. against the Georgia State Panthers.
Jacksonville was dominant last Friday against Niagara, though the 3-2 final doesn’t entirely reflect that. The Purple Eagles had only three shots in the entire match, but two of them got through for goals. Kaitlyn Bassett started the scoring in the 16th minute of action but she was quickly countered by a Niagara score two minutes later. Sarah Moghadas then nosed the Dolphins back out in front but the Purple Eagles leveled again before the break. In fact, it took a red card on the Niagara keeper two minutes into the second half before the tide turned completely in JU’s favor. The Dolphins outshot Niagara 10-0 in the second half, and a header from Bassett – the leading goal scorer in the Atlantic Sun – in the 72nd minute ensured that Jacksonville took home the victory. JU’s offense has clicked in the first three matches of the season with 11 goals to show for its efforts, but a superb showing will be needed to continue that pace this weekend as the Dolphins go up against two solid defenses.
Georgia comes into the weekend at 3-1-0, and with a shutout streak that nearly 300 minutes dating back to its season opener at Texas. Since allowing a 65th minute goal to the Longhorns in a 2-0 loss, the Bulldogs have applied the clamps in wins against Houston (2-0), Mercer (3-0) and Furman (2-0). Madeline Barker and Rachel Garcia each have scored twice for Georgia, while Caitlin Woody has played every minute in goal, making 10 saves.
After Friday night’s contest, the Dolphins will venture west to Atlanta to take on Georgia State on Sunday. The Panthers are 0-1-1 on the season, but were unlucky to not defeat Mercer in the season opener, as the Bears tied the game on the last kick of regulation. Last Friday, GSU took Alabama to overtime but lost on a penalty kick in the 94th minute. Georgia State meets local rival Kennesaw State on Friday night before meeting the Dolphins.
While he acknowledges his team will be challenged this weekend, Head Coach Brian Copham thinks his team can grow from these type of back-to-back matches. “We have a tough road trip ahead of us,” he said. “Georgia is a hard place to play and they are a very good team. We’ll go into both of these games knowing we have to play our best to have a chance at success. This type of trip will help us prepare for the rigors of conference road weekends.”
After this weekend, Jacksonville will have one more match away from home to conclude its road swing, taking on Georgia Southern at 7 p.m. on Sept. 13. The Dolphins return to Southern Oak Stadium on Sept. 15 to face Minnesota at 2 p.m.
Jacksonville at Georgia
Overall: Georgia leads series, 2-0-0
First Meeting: Georgia defeated Jacksonville, 11-0, on October 6, 1996.
Last Meeting: A ranked Georgia team needed a goal in the last five minutes to escape with a 1-0 home win on August 25, 2006.
Notable: In a combined nine meetings against SEC schools – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss and South Carolina – the Dolphins are 0-9-0.
Jacksonville at Georgia State
Overall: Georgia State leads series, 10-7-1
First Meeting: In the first home game in JU program history, Georgia State downed the Dolphins, 12-0, on September 21, 1995.
Last Meeting: An overtime goal gave Jacksonville a 2-1 win over the Panthers on September 4, 2011. Sarah Sierra earned the victory in goal, making four saves.
Notable: Conference rivals in the Atlantic Sun from 1997-2004, the teams played to a 6-6-1 draw in 13 meeting over that span. The programs also met four times at the A-Sun Tournament, with Jacksonville going 3-1-0 in those do-or-die matches.