JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- Southern Oak Stadium will see a ton of action this week as the Jacksonville University men’s soccer team host their final two matches of the regular season. Perhaps the most exciting rivalry of the Atlantic Sun, North Florida takes a trip down 295 for a 7 p.m. match on Wednesday, Oct. 6. The Dolphins will conclude their home slate on Saturday, Oct. 9 for a Senior Day contest against Stetson at 7 p.m.
“This game and overall rivalry with UNF is a special rivalry for a lot of people around the Jacksonville area,” said Head Coach Ryan Pratt. “It means a lot to our team, not because of the rivalry but because it is a game with a lot of importance that can impact the way the rest of our season goes. This game isn't any more important to us than games we've already played or will play. They are all equally important to our program.”
Currently 4-10-1 (2-4-0 A-Sun), the Dolphins are looking to gain momentum and break a four-game losing streak with the A-Sun tourney around the corner. Wins this week will give the team a boost in conference standings and provide them with the opportunity to secure one of the top six spots needed to receive a tournament invitation.
A positive sign for the Dolphins is the resurgence of junior forward Matheus Saroli. Playing as a reserve in JU’s last match against FGCU, he led the team in shots and shots on goal. Opponents should also be leery of sophomore forward Nathan Dalton who has made solid efforts for the Fins with his three goals and two assists.
Our River City rivals, UNF, are coming off of back-to-back 1-0 wins over Mercer and Stetson. Jean Rivaroli leads the team with four goals and Drew Spragg trails closely with three.
Tied with seven league points in the final week of play, UNF,
Stetson and Mercer are battling for the fifth spot in the conference. The
Hatters (2-4-1, 3-9-3) saw their two-game win streak snapped in a 1-0 overtime
loss to the Ospreys last Saturday. Chase Rodgers leads the team with three
goals but the Dolphins need to keep watch on Raffaele Centofanti who seems to
be the facilitator of most of the Hatters scoring opportunities with five assists.
“To say these final two home conference matches are huge is an understatement,” continued Pratt. “We need to make sure Southern Oak Stadium is packed full of support for your Dolphins.”
Jacksonville v UNF
Overall: Jacksonville leads the series, 12-7-1.
Notable: Matheus Saroli led the Dolphins with two goals in the 5-1 win over the Ospreys last season.
Coach Quotes: “This game has a lot of importance [from an A-Sun conference tournament perspective] to us. They are having a very good year and are feeling very confident about where they are in the league at the moment.”
Jacksonville v Stetson
Overall: Jacksonville leads the series, 33-25-8.
Coach Quotes: “They are a very solid team. When they come to in to Southern Oak Stadium we will need to play well and capitalize on the moments that present themselves to us in order to get a result.”