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Women’s soccer makes it to semi-finals with 1-0 victory

By Jordan Harirchi

The UNF women’s soccer team snagged its first Atlantic Sun Tournament victory in school history.

The Ospreys beat the Belmont Bruins 1-0 Oct. 29 in Nashville, Tenn. The close score didn’t reflect how the Ospreys outmatched the Bruins. The team outshot the Bruins 22-11.

Assistant coach Morgan Church said all the games prior to this one prepared the team for the tournament.

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The Ospreys were ravenous in their attempts to score the first goal. The team put up six shots in the first 27 minutes of play but couldn’t break the seal.

It wasn’t until the 37th minute that Kathryn Shafer put up the first and only goal of the day. Shafer received a pass and dribbled to the end line of the field, amidst multiple defenders, and tapped the ball into the goal.

In the second half, the Ospreys came out of the nest looking for prey. The team put up nine shots in the first 16 minutes of play.

Shafer had another opportunity for a goal, but her shot was slapped away by Bruins goalkeeper Nicole Berner. Racking up eight saves, Berner kept the Bruins within reach of a win.

The Bruins charged in the closing moments of the game, pushing more of their players into the offensive attack. Desperate to continue their season, the Bruins racked up four shots in the last 13 minutes.

The Ospreys committed a handball 25 yards out with just nine seconds of play left — giving the Bruins one last opportunity to tie.

Bruins defender Gretchen Sutch fired a beautiful shot that was on a path to tying the game. Sophomore goalkeeper Megan Dorsey dove out, extending all six feet of her body, and punched the ball over the crossbar, ending the game in a dramatic fashion.

In the other opening-round game of the A-Sun Tournament, Mercer squeaked by Jacksonville University in a penalty kick shootout. Mercer advances to play No. 2 seed
East Tennessee State University.

The Ospreys play next Nov. 4 against top-seeded Florida Gulf Coast — a team that beat the Ospreys 4-0 in its only match this year.

The Ospreys haven’t forgotten the loss but are aware they have improved greatly since the defeat, Shafer said.

“It’s a new game,” she said. “Anything can happen.”

The game against FGCU was the Ospreys’ first conference game, and the team wasn’t prepared to face a team of FGCU’s caliber, Dorsey said.

The Ospreys have to maintain their speed of play against FGCU, she said.

Earlier in the season, the Ospreys had issues conforming to opponents’ style of play rather than forcing its own.

Church said the team is the best its ever been. She said the team is aware of the previous blowout against FGCU but is more than ready to take on the feat.

“[FGCU] aren’t four goals better than us,” Church said. “The girls are excited to get a little revenge.”

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