JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University's women's soccer program gave its fans a show Friday night, scoring three unanswered goals in its season-opening victory over North Georgia.
"We are excited to open the season with a good start," said Head Coach Brian Copham. "There was great energy tonight, and a great crowd with the men's team and a couple of others coming out to support us.
"I'm most proud of the urgency we came out with in the second half. We stepped up the tempo a little bit, scored two goals and kept the clean sheet."
Junior defender Rachael Burton and freshman midfielder Zoe Zinis recorded their first collegiate goals in the match while junior forward Joëlle d'Entremont tacked in the third two-pointer of her career.
"Scoring my first goal was really, really fun," said Burton. "I actually didn't know it went in.
"It's always great to start the season the way we did. Everyone worked their butts off to get this decision."
A corner kick in the 13th minute paved the way for the Dolphins' first goal of the year. While sliding through a pair of defenders, Burton connected on a deflection and was able to tuck the ball in the far left corner of the net.
The score remained 1-0 through the second half until d'Entremont curved in a shot from the corner of the 18-yard box.
Freshmen Zinis and Rachel Henry partnered on the final score at the 59:12 mark to cap a successful season opener. The Dolphins were two of four newcomers inserted in the starting lineup.
"We have a big freshmen class, and we know we're young, but we're pleased with where they are skill wise and how they are integrating into the team," continued Copham. "A lot of our freshmen played tonight. Mostly everyone that was healthy got in, and it's a good sign for them to get good, competitive minutes. The level of intensity didn't drop when we made changes; they maintained our expectations."
The Dolphins dominated the possession game from start to finish. They outshot North Georgia 19 to six with none of the Nighthawk attempts falling on frame.
Junior Sara Wicks received the win with 71 minutes in goal.
"We played a very physical battle and came out with the result that we wanted," added d'Entremont. "We are a team that plays our best when we keep things simple and keep the ball. That's what we need to do through the rest of the season."
Jacksonville returns to the pitch Sunday afternoon in a 2 p.m. match at Charleston Southern. The outing will serve as the first of a three-match road swing.