NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Jacksonville men's soccer went toe-to-toe with No. 1 seed Lipscomb in the ASUN Semifinals Sunday afternoon. The Dolphins hung in there through much of the rain-soaked game, but a Lipscomb goal in the 71st minute was too much for Jacksonville to overcome, ending their 2018 campaign.
The first goal of the match came from Lipscomb's Ben Locke when he ripped a long shot that got past Matt Levy in the 13th minute of the match. Levy managed to finish out the rest of the first half without another mistake. Meanwhile, Jacksonville was able to find a first half equalizer just two minutes after being scored on. It was a congested play right in front of the Lipscomb net with a loose ball that was touched by senior Selemani Baruani, and then scored by Reed Davis. It was the sixth goal of the season for Jacksonville's leader in goals.
The rest of the first half played out fairly even and the two teams saw a 1-1 tie entering the locker rooms.
The first 25 minutes of the second half went on scoreless for the two teams, and would remain a tie game until the 71st minute. Being charged by a host of Lipscomb attackers, Levy left the net in an attempt to clear the ball. The ball took an ugly hop and was misplayed by the freshman keeper, allowing the Bisons' Zarek Jakubowski to score on the open net.
Jacksonville took several chances late to save their season, and almost did it with under 10 minutes to go when a header bounced off the Lipscomb crossbar. However, the score would remain 2-1 in favor of the defending ASUN Champions, and bring Jacksonville's season to an end.
"Obviously it's upsetting any time you end your season in any format. I thought our boys played well enough today to give ourselves a chance to advance against a good Lipscomb team, but we didn't capitalize on the opportunities that we had, and we had the crucial mistake on our end that gave them the lead," said Head Coach Mauricio Ruiz.
The Dolphins had reached the Semifinal round of the ASUN Championship after defeating Liberty 2-0 in the Quarterfinal Match on Friday night. It was Jacksonville's third consecutive ASUN Semifinal appearance. "I thought our boys fought hard under the condition of playing two games in less than 48 hours. I thought we competed well with the No. 1 seed, and unfortunately we couldn't get out of here with the win," said Ruiz.
From here, Lipscomb will host the winner of the other Semifinal Match between No. 2 seed FGCU and No. 6 seed Stetson. Jacksonville's season will end after another strong push in conference play. The Dolphins had five All-ASUN honorees on their roster this season, including an All-Freshman goalkeeper and an All-Freshman/Second Team All-ASUN scoring leader in Davis.
"We have a lot of takeaways from the season. We started four freshman and four sophomores, a really young team. So there's a lot to look forward to going forward. I'm really proud of our boys for getting themselves into this situation. I'm really proud of our seniors for the leadership they provided this year. It's just never an easy way to end the season," Ruiz said.