Dolphins Clinch 6th Seed in A-Sun Tourney
Seniors Nick Rodriguez, Gavin Carlin and Guilherme Brandao
Seniors Nick Rodriguez, Gavin Carlin and Guilherme Brandao

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Southern Oak said thank you to its men’s soccer senior leaders midfielder Nick Rodriguez, midfielder Guilherme Brandao and goalkeeper Gavin Carlin on Saturday night. Playing their final home match before a gracious Dolphin crowd, the trio saw their team come from behind to take a 2-2 draw against Stetson. With the tie, the Dolphins advance to the Atlantic Sun tournament as the sixth seed.

“Our goal at the beginning of the season was to make it to the conference tournament,” said Head Coach Ryan Pratt. “With the draw tonight and the other against UNF, we were able to achieve that goal. We played two teams that came here looking for a draw and I’m terribly proud of our guys for going down a goal in both games and having the toughness to battle back.”

Though the Fins possessed the ball for most of the opening period, they found themselves trailing, 1-0, at the half. In the 37th minute, Hatter Raffaele Centofanti found his teammate Ross Morison inside the box and he sliced it towards to the back corner for the goal.

The second frame saw the brunt of the action as the teams battled for three scores.

A pair of JU defenders provided the team with both of their goals. With 75:39 on the clock, freshman midfielder Jack Burns was rewarded with a free kick. As he sent the ball towards the net, Shenaldo Parkes was able to get his head on it to tie the match.

“Shenaldo is a big presence in the box on free kicks. He’s been really close a few times so it’s good to see him rewarded for his efforts tonight.”

Less than five minutes later, defender Juan Manual Arguedas also used a free kick opportunity to give Jacksonville a 2-1 lead. Launching from 20 yards out, his ball soared over both teams and landed in the back of the net.

“Juan comes before practice and stays late working on free kicks,” said Pratt. “He’s been working on them since he’s been here. Finally, he got the chance in a game when it mattered and I don’t think he could’ve hit a ball any better than he did.”

39 seconds away from clinching the win, a JU foul inside the box provided Chase Rodgers with a penalty kick and he converted to tie the match at 2-2.

In two overtime periods, JU held a 5-0 shot advantage but were unable to score. 11 Dolphin players had at least one shot on the night as the team took a 22-9 shot advantage over the Hatters.

Jacksonville plays No. 3 Lipscomb on Wednesday, Oct. 13 in the first round of the A-Sun tournament. The match will be held in Fort Myers at Florida Gulf Coast and is set for 4 p.m.