JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville University women’s soccer team stands at 3-2-0 on the season, with each of the two losses occurred in the final half-minute of overtime contests with Miami (FL) and Georgia. Playing well but still in search of a statement win, the Dolphins will get their chance this weekend, traveling to Georgia Southern on Friday night at 7 p.m., and then returning home to face an undefeated and ranked Minnesota squad at Southern Oak Stadium on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Despite scoring just once in two matches last weekend, Jacksonville is still the highest-scoring squad in the Atlantic Sun, averaging 2.40 goals per game. With five goals on the season, Kaitlyn Bassett is tied for the league lead in the category and is ranked 15th nationally. Defensively, Sarah Sierra was last week’s Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Week after allowing only one goal in matches at Georgia and Georgia State. A back line anchored by the combination of senior Ally Lee and freshman Mary Sturgis lead a stingy defensive unit that gives up only 5.1 shots on goal per game.
A 1-3-0 record fails to tell the complete story for Georgia Southern, who qualified for last season’s NCAA Tournament. Two of those early-season losses for the Eagles came on the road to Indiana and North Carolina State. A match they led at High Point in the second half was rained out and the outcome left undetermined. Last week, Georgia Southern defeated Stetson, 2-1, to nab its first win. Freshman Jennifer Wittick had both goals in the contest and was named the SoCon Women’s Soccer Player of the Week for her efforts.
Sunday marks the first home match since August 25, but it will not be an easy one. Lying in wait are the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who first will meet the University of Florida on Friday night before traveling up for the match. At 6-0-0, the Gophers took down both Ole Miss and LSU by 2-1 scores over the weekend and made their first appearance in the Soccer America Top 25 this week, debuting at No. 21. Katie Thyken leads Minnesota with four goals, while Josee Stiever chips in with three more. For those unable to attend the match, ASun.TV will have a free streaming broadcast.
Sunday’s match with Minnesota is the first of three in a row at Southern Oak Stadium. Jacksonville plays its final two non-conference matches of the season next weekend, hosting FIU at 7 p.m. on Friday night and Furman at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Jacksonville at Georgia Southern
Overall: Jacksonville leads the series, 5-3-1
First Meeting: Georgia Southern defeated JU, 13-1, on Oct. 3, 1995
Last Meeting: On Sept. 2, 2012, the teams battled to a 0-0 draw in Jacksonville
Notable: In nine meetings between the sides, only twice has the final result seen the teams separated by more than one goal. The first came in the first meeting between the schools, when JU’s program was in its infancy. The next time occurred three years later, with the Dolphins able to claim revenge with a 5-1 victory.
Minnesota at Jacksonville
Overall: First meeting
Notable: Sunday will be Jacksonville’s second-ever matchup with a school out of the Big Ten. In the prior meeting, Indiana came away with a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Dolphins on Sept. 2, 2007. Along with Niagara, Minnesota is the other team on JU’s schedule this season that will be facing the Dolphins for the first time. Jacksonville downed Niagara, 3-2, two weeks back in a game hosted by USF.