Women’s soccer falls to Mercer in A-Sun Semifinals, 2-0
Freshman Olivia Tucker scored twice for the Bears to help Mercer down the JU women’s soccer team, 2-0, on Thursday afternoon in the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Tournament at KSU Soccer Complex.

With the win, the Bears (11-5-3) earned a spot in the championship match on Saturday and avenged an earlier 1-0 loss to the Dolphins (9-9-2, 6-4) on Oct. 3. The Dolphins just couldn’t get any offense going as they were held to only five shots in their final match of the 2008 season.

“It was a good performance today, but we couldn’t get the result we wanted,” said JU head coach Brian Copham. “Mercer is a well-coached and good team, who earned the right to play for the championship on Saturday.

“I was proud of the effort from our team, especially by the seniors. We are thankful for the dedication, effort and hard work our seniors put into this program to make it successful over the last four seasons.”

Tucker, the A-Sun “Freshman of the Year” honoree, gave the Bears a 1-0 advantage in the 19th minute on a header from a corner kick by Meghan Castaldo, who was denied on four previous corner kicks by JU.

The Bears quickly took a 2-0 lead in the 29th minute after Tucker slid the ball past freshman goalie Alexa Rooney following a header by Katheryn Hurst.

The Dolphins’ best chance to get on the board came with less than three minutes remaining in the first half after header by senior defender Katie Orr hit off the top crossbar from a free kick by sophomore defender Devon Dowell.

Sophomore midfielder Liza Grimsgaard came back with another header after Orr’s shot, but Mercer goalie Jean Worts was there to make the stop.

Worts, A-Sun Defensive “Player of the Year” Heather Manting and the rest of the Bears’ defense continued to stifle the Dolphins in the second half en route to earning their program-record 11th shutout.

The match also marked the final collegiate game for JU seniors Keri Zwikker, Katie Orr, Heidi Dettmer, Lauren Hayes, Kirby Hutton, Stephanie Kormanik and Angela Hulse. The group finished with more than 35 wins to their record and helped the Dolphins secure their second A-Sun Championship in program history during the 2006 season.

Overall, the Dolphins finished the 2008 campaign with the sixth highest win total (9-9-2) in school history and reached the A-Sun semifinals for the fourth time in the last five seasons. They also won four of their last five regular-season matches, which is the Dolphins’ best streak since the 1998 season.