Conference Race Heats Up as Women’s Soccer Hosts Lipscomb, Northern Kentucky
Photo Credit: Skip Tapp
Photo Credit: Skip Tapp

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville University women’s soccer team hosts a pair of important matches this weekend at Southern Oak Stadium, going up against a high-powered Lipscomb club on Friday night at 7 pm, then dueling with Northern Kentucky on Sunday at 2 pm. Both matches will be live on ASun.TV.

JU comes into the weekend fresh off a 3-1 victory against North Florida in the River City Rumble last Friday night. The win improved the Dolphins to 7-5-0 (2-1-0 Atlantic Sun) on the season. Miranda Fyfe put Jacksonville up, 1-0, half an hour in with a long-distance effort from over 30 yards out. After UNF tied the game two minutes into the second half, Sarah Moghadas tallied the game-winner off a short corner. Joy Grove and Julia Burton supplied the passes that allowed Moghadas her chance, which she finished off in a crowded six-yard box. Just five minutes later, Jessica Cataldo-Ramirez gave JU the breathing room they needed, breaking free from a UNF defender and hitting a ball perfectly from long-range, hitting the crossbar and in to give Jacksonville its third and final goal of the contest.

Though she didn’t have a goal last week, Kaitlyn Bassett still provides the fuel for JU’s offense. Her eight goals this season are second in the A-Sun, while she leads the league with 50 shots and four game-winning goals in 2013. Playing the majority of the minutes in the other forward slot, Marie Weckhurst ranks second on the team with 27 shots this season.

Squaring off with the Dolphins on Friday is a dangerous Lipscomb team playing much better than its 4-5-4 (1-1-2 A-Sun) record would indicate. In their last three matches, the Bisons have defeated a highly-touted Mercer squad, then drew with Stetson (3-3) and Florida Gulf Coast (1-1) last weekend. Leading the charge for Lipscomb is freshman Ellen Lundy. With 12 goals in 13 matches, she not only leads the A-Sun in scoring, but is tied for eighth in the nation as well. Pairing with Lundy up front is Baylee Linnell, a junior who has added six goals and five assists on the season. Despite the ability of its forwards, the Lipscomb attack can be hit-or-miss. The Bisons have been shut out three times on the season and have by far the most offside calls in the A-Sun, racking up 54, an average of over four a contest.

"This is another big conference weekend ahead of us," said Head Coach Brian Copham. "Lipscomb has been in great form recently. They are a very dynamic and dangerous attacking team as shown by the quantity of goals they have on the board so far this season. We're going to have to be organized and at our best on Friday night."

Northern Kentucky will face UNF on Friday night in a battle between the two winless squads in league play before coming across town to play the Dolphins on Sunday. The Norse stand at 4-8-1 (0-4-0 A-Sun) this season and have hit the skids offensively as of late, scoring only twice in conference matchups and being shut out three times in their last five matches. Allison Ponzer is a player to watch for NKU, leading the team with three goals this season. Both Sami Rutowski and Katelyn Newton have two goals apiece. Though JU will be favored to come away with three points, the team should be wary. It took a 78th minute goal last season for the Dolphins to squeak out a 2-1 win against Northern Kentucky on the road last season in the first-ever matchup between the two programs.

"Northern Kentucky will also be a tough test," Copham went on to say. "While their results may not have gone the way they have hoped recently, we have seen them on film and know how good of a team they are. Last year they took us right down to the very end and I expect a similar type of game this year as well."

Following this weekend’s action, Jacksonville will go on the road for its final trip of the regular season. The Dolphins play at USC Upstate on Oct. 18 and East Tennessee State on Oct. 20.