JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In a clash of the only two unbeaten teams in ASUN Conference play, Jacksonville University (9-4, 6-0) throttled Mercer University (10-3, 5-1) from start to finish in a 17-4 win Thursday at D.B. Milne Field. In the process, the Dolphins pushed their ASUN regular season win streak to 30 games, Courtney Valdez surpassed the 100-career point milestone, and goalie Sydney Matthews registered a career-best 12 saves.
Ashtyn Hiron wasted no time testing the scoreboard. The junior midfielder won the opening draw and scored just 11 seconds into the game. Valdez followed with an unassisted goal at the 28:15 mark.
Eva Thorn answered for the Bears 40 seconds later, but the Dolphins went on a seven-goal run, seeing a straight hat trick from Rachel Aus, two scores from Danielle Della Rocca, and Hannah Wilcox, and Valdez finding the back of the net.
The scoring began with Mercer committing an own goal on an errant pass back to its goal with almost 10 minutes expired. Thorn then scored again at the 19:31 mark, but Hiron and Kasey Stevens buzzed the back of the net to push Jacksonville to a nine-goal lead.
At 12:33, Meghan Segreti scored the visitors' final score on a free-position shot. Jacksonville concluded its scoring barrage with two goals from Jaime Chapman, and one each from Lillie Miller and Genie Santarpio.
"When you play a team that has that many upperclassmen as Mercer, it means a lot to play the way we did, especially against a team that came in today 10-2. It was wonderful to have 11 players score 17 goals, and we played great as a team. Defensively we caused a ton of turnovers, and with 15 saves our goalies were unbelievable. Mercer came in shooting over 50%, so for our goalies to have that kind of day is amazing. We are also very happy with Valdez getting her 100th career point after being out of lacrosse last year, and it's a great story for her. When everyone plays on your team against the other undefeated team in the league, that's a good effort by and large." - JU Associate Head Coach Paul McCord
Jacksonville outshot Mercer, 34-20, and won 14 of 23 draw controls. The Dolphins picked up 33 ground balls to the Bears' 26, and went 21-26 in clear attempts while holding the visitors to 15-24. Turnovers infested the game; Mercer had 26 and JU totaled 23.
Erika Brager and Emily Barton each scooped four ground balls, and Hiron took home four draw controls. Matthews was victorious yet again to advance to 9-2 on the season and Mariah Cudlipp had three saves.
Valdez's achievement of over 100 career points follows her three years at the University of Oregon.
Jacksonville has won seven-straight games and closes its home portion of the schedule against Kennesaw State on Saturday, Apr. 15. A pre-game ceremony honoring the Dolphin seniors will be held on the field.