DELAND, Fla. – An 82nd minute goal from Kaitlyn Bassett allowed the Jacksonville University women’s soccer team to come away with a 2-1 road victory over the Stetson Hatters on Sunday afternoon. It was JU’s ninth match this season decided by one goal, and improved them to 5-4-0 in such instances. The Dolphins stand at 6-5-0 (1-1-0 A-Sun) on the season, while the Hatters drop to 3-6-1 (1-1-0 A-Sun).
After enjoying much of the possession in the early going, Jacksonville took the lead in the 29th minute. Ally Lee dribbled her way into the midfield and found Bassett advancing towards the 18-yard box. Bassett fended off a Stetson player and poked a shot towards goalkeeper Victoria Troccoli. Though Troccoli was able to make a deflection on the ball, it popped up in the air and past her, dropping down at the last moment and in to put JU on top, 1-0.
With less than two minutes before the halftime whistle, the Dolphins again tested the Stetson defense. After entering the contest less than 10 minutes beforehand, Cassie Elmore freed herself for a cross across the face of goal to Bassett on the far post. Bassett’s header was well-struck from just outside the six-yard box and seemingly on its way in until Troccoli made a reaction save just before it could cross the line to keep the score at 1-0 entering the break.
After failing to force a save from Sarah Sierra in the first half, Stetson showed more signs of life in the second half, coming up with plenty of offensive pressure in the first 15 minutes of the period but still lacking a shot on target to show for it. For the second time in as many weeks, it took a mistake in the JU back line for the Hatters to tie the score. Just past the hour mark, Stetson midfielder Amber Grose played a ball into the box from the right flank. With Paige Law making a run in behind the Dolphin defense, an attempted clearance was sent goal-bound rather than wide, leaving Sierra no opportunity to make a play on the ball.
Given new life, the Hatters picked up the pace for a large chunk of the half and had a couple threatening moments that were handled by JU’s junior goalkeeper. Finally, in the last 10 minutes of regulation, the Dolphins found another gear and kept the majority of the action on the Stetson side of the field. As the game rolled under 10 minutes to play, Jacksonville continually kept the Hatters from clearing its end of the field and was rewarded as Elmore and Bassett connected on a cross very similar to the one they had in the first half. This time, Bassett’s header got past Troccoli for her eighth goal of the season to put JU on top, 2-1, with less than nine minutes to play.
Stetson’s attempts for a late equalizer were mostly from long-range and off-target, though Sierra did have to make her third save of the contest in the 87th minute on a low, dipping shot that took a bounce before reaching her in order to keep the Hatters from leveling.
"It was a good effort to get the result today," said Head Coach Brian Copham. "Sunday conference matches are always tough and today was no different. We've found some things we have to work on, but we'll continue to work to improve every day. We were fortunate to get great work from Kaitlyn in front of goal today."
With its opening weekend road-trip completed, Jacksonville will play five of its final seven Atlantic Sun matches this season at Southern Oak Stadium. The Dolphins return to action on Friday night for a cross-town matchup with North Florida at 7 pm.