JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- Coming off an overtime victory on senior night, the Jacksonville University women's soccer team will now look to secure their spot in the 2017 ASUN Tournament. The Dolphins will finish their season on the road, facing Stetson on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 7:00 p.m.
JU matched its win total from last year on Tuesday evening, overcoming conference foe USC Upstate in overtime, 2-1. The senior night effort was spearheaded by graduating Captain Sope Akindoju, who tallied a goal in the 23rd minute of play, and then added an assist later in the contest. After conceding a score in the second half to the Spartans, Jacksonville earned its first overtime win of the season in the game's 94th minute, as sophomore Zoe Zinis rolled a ball to the right of the Upstate keeper. Five Dolphins played the entirety of the match, and junior keeper Brittany Hundley tallied one save in-goal. The victory is JU's first in extra time since defeating USC Upstate in a similar situation on Oct. 12, 2014. JU prevailed in that contest 2-1 on senior night, with current Assistant Coach and then-senior Julia Burton scoring the game-winner in the 98th minute.
TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK
Through 13 games this season, 19 of the team's 25 players have played in more than 50 percent of matches, with six players appearing in every contest thus far. Akindoju's five goals are now tied for the most in a Dolphins season in the last three years, and put her tied for sixth place in the conference in scores. Zinis now ranks second on the team with a trio of connections, picking up her first career game-winning goal in the overtime win. Camille Copperthite, Maya Fisher, and Kia Jie Jacobs each contributed assists in Tuesday's contest, with Jacobs collecting her first-ever collegiate point in the effort. There have now been 11 different point-scorers on the team this season, the most since the 2013-14 squad also had 11 players tally a point.
WALKIN' ON THE ASUN
Following their second conference victory of the season, JU currently holds a 99-60-19 record all-time in conference play, with hopes of reaching the century mark in view for Saturday's contest. Head Coach Brian Copham will look to pick up his 50th win in ASUN play as the coach of the 'Phins, currently holding in a 49-22-9 conference mark. The team will look to advance past the first round of the ASUN tournament for the first time since 2015, when they defeated cross-town rival North Florida in a shootout to advance to the semifinal round. In the last five seasons, JU has had a winning record in conference competition, posting a 23-18-4 mark since 2012. The Dolphins currently sit in sixth place, with six points in the conference race, holding tiebreakers over USC Upstate and NJIT. While a win or tie against Stetson would secure their spot in the tournament, an NJIT win over Upstate on Saturday would also allow them to clinch.
THE ROAD AHEAD
The Dolphins enter Saturday's contest with a 4-9 overall record, including a 2-4 mark in conference play. The team will look to surpass their record from last season, having posted a 4-11-1 outcome in 2016. The upcoming contest will mark the final of seven conference bouts that JU will take part in this season, including the third that will take place away from the River City. It will be the team's third game held on a Saturday this season, and the only one to be played on the road. The 'Phins will take the field of play in the Sunshine State for the 11th time so far this year, having posted a 142-126-27 record all-time when playing a game in Florida. This will be the final regular season contest for the Dolphins in 2017, with the ASUN Tournament being held Friday, Oct. 27 through Sunday, Nov. 5. Tournament matches will be hosted by the team with the higher seed.
JU enters the weekend holding a 14-8-2 all-time mark when facing Stetson, including 5-5-1 on the road. The Dolphins have won six of the last seven meetings, and two of the last three that were held in Deland. Jacksonville overcame the Hatters at home last season on Oct. 21, 2016, 3-2, to clinch a spot in the 2016 ASUN Tournament on senior night. Down 1-0 in the first half, Rachel Henry and Jessica Shaffelburg scored within 1:03 of each other to give JU the lead, with Joëlle d'Entremont securing the win with a goal in the 50th minute. Saturday's contest will mark the 25th all-time meeting between the two schools, with Stetson surpassing Mercer as the opponent that JU has faced the most.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION- STETSON
Having already clinched a spot in the ASUN Tournament, the Hatters enter the weekend with a 8-3-3 overall record, including a 3-1-2 mark in conference play. Rebounding off their only conference loss of the season thus far, a 1-0 decision to NJIT on Oct. 8, Stetson shut out North Florida 3-0 on the road last Saturday. The team is led offensively by senior Sarah Collins, whose eight goals and 19 total points each rank second in the ASUN. Defensively, keeper Emily Plotz has started 13 of 14 games in-net for the Hatters this season, amounting a 0.64 goals-against-average, and 73 saves, good for the second-lowest and most in their respective categories in the conference.
FOLLOWING THE 'PHINS