JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Friday night’s matchup between the Jacksonville University women’s soccer team and the visiting Lipscomb Bisons was billed as a battle between forwards Ellen Lundy and Kaitlyn Bassett. And for good reason. Lundy came into the night leading the Atlantic Sun with 12 goals on the season, a number that put her in a tie for eighth nationally. Bassett was second in the A-Sun with eight goals, including a league-leading four game-winners.
For more than 75 minutes, the story of the night had almost nothing to do with them as the two teams were locked in a scoreless test of wills. Then, given her first opportunity of the night, Bassett struck to give the Dolphins a 1-0 lead. Less than seven minutes later she was at it again, opportunistically being in the right place at the right time to give JU a 2-0 lead that would turn into the final. With the win, the Dolphins improved to 8-5-0 on the season, and upped their league record to 3-1-0 to keep pace on a night where three of the four schools ahead of them in the conference earned victories.
The three points didn’t come easily. Though Jacksonville had the better of the first 45 minutes, the teams went into halftime in a scoreless draw. The Dolphins earned six corner kicks in the half to Lipscomb’s three, but nothing materialized for JU. Jacksonville did put three shots on frame, but Anna Buhigas rose to the occasion on each of them, while Sarah Sierra dealt nicely with a long-range effort from Carolyn Springsteen midway through the half for her first work of the night.
While Jacksonville held the majority of possession in the first half, the action flowed fairly evenly between the two sides of the field. That held true early on in the second half, but as the game neared the hour mark, the Dolphins were firmly in control of the proceedings, committing numbers forward and peppering the Lipscomb goal with shots.
The first sequence of play that had Lipscomb back on its heels ended with a shot from Ashley Poirier that stayed just high as it shot past the bar. Within a couple minutes, Buhigas was forced into a save on a Marie Weckhurst shot that nearly had Jacksonville out in front. On the rare occasions when Lipscomb could break out of its own end, JU’s defense stood firm, reestablishing possession and quickly moving the ball back into the midfield where they could once again look to ignite the offense.
The Dolphins were comfortably passing the ball around the Lipscomb final third as the match entered its final 15 minutes. With Sarah Moghadas on the ball, a crack in the Bisons defense finally appeared. Creating separation from the defense, Moghadas fired a low shot toward the right corner of the net that Buhigas could only deflect away. The ball fell perfectly to Bassett, who took a touch and sent the ball back to the upper left corner, giving Jacksonville the lead in the 78th minute.
With time winding down, the Bisons were reduced to shots from well outside the 18-yard box to try to find the equalizer, none of which required the attention of Sierra. The match was put out of reach of Lipscomb in the final seven minutes. Adriana Rodrigues sent a corner kick in from the left side that was played out top. Joy Grove was there to corral it, but the ball still was traveling with quite a bit of spin as she came to meet it. Her attempt on goal took a right turn and just happened to find Bassett. Carrying all the pace it needed to beat the keeper, Bassett simply redirected the ball on goal, sending it to the roof of the net for a 2-0 lead that held up to the end.
JU’s incredible defensive effort on the night yielded just six shots from the Bisons, and just one that needed a save from Sierra in goal. Lundy did not manage a single shot in the contest.
“It was a great defensive effort overall to stay organized and limit them to just a few dangerous chances,” said Head Coach Brian Copham. “I’m excited for the perseverance we showed. This was a good Lipscomb team we played tonight and we had to fight to get this win.”
Now with 10 goals on the season, Bassett became the first double-digit goal scorer for Jacksonville since Keri Zwikker scored 16 in the 2007 season. Her 24 career goals also lift her to seventh all-time in program history, ahead of Inge Heiremans’s 23 (2002-03). As a team, it was JU’s third shutout of the season, and the first since a 1-0 win over Georgia State on Sept. 8.
Jacksonville moves to 12-0-0 all-time in the series history with Lipscomb. The Dolphins are back at home on Sunday, looking to sweep the weekend when they face Northern Kentucky at 2 pm.