Women’s soccer outlasts ETSU in penalty kicks to reach A-Sun Semifinals
The JU women’s soccer team used an overtime penalty kick session to down East Tennessee State, 5-4, on Wednesday afternoon in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament at the KSU Soccer Complex.

The Dolphins (9-8-2) landed all five of their attempts in overtime to advance to the A-Sun semifinals for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

In 2006, JU defeated the Buccaneers (7-9-2) in the very same manner, which propelled the Dolphins to winning their second A-Sun Tournament title in school history.

“It was a great match between two very good teams,” said JU head coach Brian Copham. “Even though we finished tied, we created a lot of chances to score which I was happy with. We practiced this moment last week and we were prepared for the occasion today.

“Overall, this was a great team win. We can enjoy it for 45 minutes and then we have to start focusing for tomorrow’s match.”

Sophomore forward Jelena Vrcelj gave the Dolphins a 1-0 lead in the 60th minute after beating Buccaneers’ goalie Erin Bliyeu to the right side of the net.

The Buccaneers evened the match in the 81th minute when Terri Miller scored from five-yards out on a cross from Kelly Brikman on the right side.

In overtime, Vrcelj, senior forward Keri Zwikker, sophomore forward Emme Graham, sophomore defender Devon Dowell and freshman forward Jessica Hurtado each delivered on their penalty kick attempts for JU to match ETSU kick for kick.

With JU leading 5-4, Jennifer Altmeir was ready to tie it for the Buccaneers, but freshman goalie Alexa Rooney swatted the shot away to send the Dolphins into the semifinals.

Rooney finished the match with eight saves, which is her second highest total this season. Bliyeu made three stops between the nets for the Buccaneers.

The Dolphins are set to face No. 1 seed and regular-season champion Mercer in the second round of the A-Sun Tournament on Thursday at 4 p.m. The Dolphins are only one of two teams to give the Bears a loss in conference play.