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Women’s soccer rallies late but cannot overcome

By Jordan Harirchi

The mid 60’s temperature was as cool, crisp and abrasive as the chants of numerous Jacksonville University students. Despite being in enemy territory, the hoots and hollers for the UNF women’s soccer team rivaled JU’s.

The Osprey support, though, was not enough to propel the UNF women’s soccer team to victory Oct. 21 against the Dolphins.

The team (8-9-2, 4-4-1 Atlantic Sun) lost 2-1 to JU (11-5-2, 7-1-1 A-Sun).

The Ospreys played a quick, disciplined and fundamentally sound Dolphins team. The game was evenly matched, with the Ospreys barely outshooting the Dolphins 15-14.

“They were good,” said UNF freshman midfielder Jill Holdsworth. “We hope to see them again.”

The Ospreys had a chance to seize momentum early when sophomore forward Lauren Hopfensperger had a one-on-one opportunity against JU goalkeeper Sarah Sierra. Sierra managed to place her body between the ball and the goal, keeping the Ospreys from celebrating.

The game went back and forth until the Dolphins scored off a failed clearing attempt. JU forward Kaitlyn Bassett managed to find the loose ball, maintain possession and score amidst three Ospreys in the 30th minute.

The Ospreys looked lost and confused for the remainder of the half but held the Dolphins to just one goal.

The second half began as a complete turnaround for the Ospreys.

“When you’re down, you don’t really have anything to lose,” said head coach Linda Hamilton.

The Ospreys frenzy began with three shots in the first two minutes, one of which blasted off of the Dolphins left goalpost.

The Ospreys caught a bad break when JU forward Eva Leeper came up with a pass from JU midfielder Liz Fink and fired a prayer. The shot was deflected awkwardly and looked to clear the crossbar but instead curved over sophomore goalkeeper Megan Dorsey to put the Dolphins up 2-0.

Despite the unlucky setback, the Ospreys threatened to score frequently. It wasn’t until the 85th minute, though, that the Ospreys finally got on the board.

Hopfensperger caught up to a long pass, drew her defender deep toward JU’s goal line and launched a cross toward the center of the box. Junior forward Michele Larrinaga, with her back against the goal, collected the pass, turned her defender to the right and kicked the ball into the lower 90 of the goal.

The last five minutes of the game were a frenzy of offensive chances that produced two Osprey shots on goal but yielded no results. The Ospreys’ clawing created an incision in JU’s lead, but the wound wasn’t enough to be fatal.

“I hate losing to JU,” Larrinaga said. “[The players] just want to bring it home to our school.”

The loss was the first mark against the Ospreys in the SunTrust River City Rumble. The series is in its seventh year, and JU has maintained possession of the SunTrust Old Wooden Barrel for three years straight.

UNF plays in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Oct. 29 in Nashville, Tenn. The Ospreys placed in the fifth seed and will take on no. 2 seed Belmont. The Ospreys tied the Bruins 0-0 in their only meeting this year.

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