JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The road to a conference title gets underway this weekend as the Jacksonville University women’s soccer team travels away from home for a pair of contests that could prove to have large implications in the Atlantic Sun race as the season moves along. On Friday night, the Dolphins (5-4-0) make the trek to Fort Myers to face preseason favorites Florida Gulf Coast at 7 p.m. FGCU and JU were the top two teams in this season’s A-Sun Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Jacksonville plays again on Sunday just a quick drive down the road at Stetson in a 1 p.m. start that will be available on ASun.TV.
In their final weekend of non-conference action, the Dolphins played in two 2-1 overtime matches, ending up on both sides of the result. On Friday night, Sarah Moghadas put a ball past the Florida International keeper that struck the left post and rolled across, giving Jacksonville the thrilling victory. Two days later, JU and Furman played to a 1-1 tie after 90 minutes, but an own goal in the first minute of overtime gave the Paladins the win. Miranda Fyfe had the opening goal and assisted on the Moghadas score on Friday night for her first points of the season. On Sunday, Kaitlyn Bassett scored the Jacksonville goal to register her 20th in a JU uniform, putting her alone in eighth place in the program’s history. Dolphin goalkeeper Sarah Sierra also hit a milestone on Sunday, breaking the century mark for saves in her career. She now has 105, good for fifth all-time at Jacksonville.
Friday’s opponent, Florida Gulf Coast, enters as the only team in the A-Sun with a better non-conference record than the Dolphins. Though they’re 5-3-1, the Eagles suffered a pair of defeats last weekend, dropping a home game to Memphis, 2-1, before going on the road for a 4-0 loss at UCF. Tabitha Tindell is currently second in the A-Sun with seven goals this season. Melissa Arnold is tied for the league lead with six assists. Ally Kasun – the league’s Preseason Player of the Year – has one goal and one assist on the year out of her midfield slot.
Stetson comes into the weekend at 2-5-1 and has lost three straight. The Hatters play host to North Florida on Friday night in their A-Sun opener before matching up with Jacksonville. Stetson has struggled offensively so far this season, putting just five goals on the board through eight matches. On the flip side of that, the Hatters are the only team with a goals against average of higher than 2.00 in the league. Alyssa Welsh has scored two goals on the year, while Amber Grose has assists on four of the team’s five goals.
Following the two matches this weekend, JU will close out the regular season with five of its final seven matches at Southern Oak Stadium. The Dolphins return home to host a River City Rumble match against North Florida on Oct. 4.
Jacksonville at Florida Gulf Coast
Overall: Jacksonville leads, 2-1-4
First Meeting: An 86th minute goal gave the Dolphins a 4-3 win on Oct. 12, 2007 in Fort Myers
Last Meeting: In last season’s Atlantic Sun Tournament semifinals, FGCU earned its first-ever win over the Dolphins, 2-0, in Fort Myers
Notable: The FGCU win in last year’s A-Sun semis snapped a streak of four consecutive ties between the two evenly-matched sides. The teams played to 1-1 draws in the 2009 and 2012 regular seasons, and held each other scoreless in both 2010 and 2011.
Jacksonville at Stetson
Overall: Jacksonville leads, 11-7-2
First Meeting: Stetson defeated JU, 9-1, on Oct. 17, 1995.
Last Meeting: JU sent 25 shots toward net as the Dolphins downed the Hatters, 3-0, on Oct. 5, 2012 in Jacksonville
Notable: Following a 2-2 draw in 2009, Jacksonville has taken three straight off Stetson and outscored them 7-1 in that stretch. Then a freshman, Bassett had her first career multi-goal game in 2011, putting two in the back of the net to lead the Dolphins to a 3-1 victory. Last season, Ashley Poirier had her first career goal for the Dolphins as part of a 3-0 shutout.