DELAND, Fla,- Competing as the #6 seed in the 2017 ASUN Tournament, the Jacksonville University women's soccer team shocked the #3 seed Stetson Saturday evening on the road, grabbing a 2-0 win. Rallying behind senior Sope Akindoju's second multi-goal effort of the season, the Dolphins used second-half firepower to advance to the conference semifinals for the second time in the last three seasons.
"I'm extremely proud of the effort and performance tonight," Head Coach Brian Copham said. "The team bought in on all facets of the game, and it showed on the field. They competed on defense and set pieces, and attacked with passion, which made the difference."
The game began at an even-strength pace, with neither team firing off a shot in the first 16 minutes. The squads traded offside penalties early in the first period, with the Hatters having a potential score called back by a whistle in the 15th minute. First-Team ASUN selection Joëlle d'Entremont challenged the Stetson back line in the 22nd minute, nearly scoring off a ball that was rolled across the box, just off to the right. Avenging last week's performance which featured a Hatter goal in the third minute, the game entered halftime with no score, with five saves accredited to junior keeper Brittany Hundley.
The second half proved to be the difference for the Dolphins, who fired off seven shots in the last 45 minutes. JU captured the lead early in the second half, as ASUN Second-Team selection Akindoju finished off a fast break after being fed the ball by d'Entremont in the 49th minute. The senior co-captain struck again 10 minutes later, scoring on an identical play, with fellow captain d'Entremont chipping in once again.
"It's great seeing the team come together to produce great work," Akindoju said. "Joelle and I have been playing together for many years now, and you can see that connection on the field. I can't wait to see what we do moving forward."
Offensively, Akindoju and d'Entremont led the way with three shots each in the contest. Hundley, Jessica Shaffelburg, Meagan Gruber, Zoe Zinis, and Lauren Short all played the duration of the game, helping to secure Jacksonville's third shutout of the season. Hundley exhibited heroics in-net throughout the game, finishing with eight saves on the evening.
"We knew this time around that we had to be more composed with the ball," Copham said. "That was our focus this week, and we were able to connect the ball when we had it."
With the victory, JU improves to 5-10 on the season and 3-5 in conference play. Stetson concludes its season with an overall record of 9-4-3. The Dolphins eclipsed a conference feat with the win, racking up their 100th ASUN win in program history, as well as the 50th in Copham's tenure.
Following the postseason feat, JU will now prepare to meet #2 seeded Florida Gulf Coast in the 2017 ASUN Conference Semifinals in Nashville, Tenn. Game time is slated for Friday, Nov. 3 at 4:00 p.m. CST.