First half fire fuels Ospreys win against Charleston Southern

John Watson, Sports Editor

Featured Image: Justin Nedrow

Another day, another win for Coach Faulconer and his Ospreys. As this one came down to the wire, it wasn’t as close as the final score shows. It was a game controlled by the Ospreys, although the Buccaneers would not fold.

Watching the game in its entirety, most of the game was played with the Ospreys having possession of the ball. Almost playing keep away from Charleston Southern, UNF was facilitating opportunities and putting shots on goal. The Ospreys outshot the Buccaneers 14-3 and only allowed a single shot in the second half. However, only two goals came on 14 shots for the Ospreys, and CSU goalkeeper Jenna Moran kept the Bucs in this one.

Thais Reiss (#10) scored her fifth goal of the season in the game against Charleston Southern (Justin Nedrow)

As for how the game played out, the Ospreys came out firing in the first half. Moving the ball around and avoiding Buccaneer defenders proved effective as the second shot on goal found the back of the net as Thais Reiss scored her fifth goal of the season. 

This goal gives Reiss a goal in five out of six games this season as the ASUN preseason player of the year contributed to putting the Ospreys on the board first. With 10 total shots in this half, UNF Head Coach Eric Faulconer was pleased with his team’s start.

“I think we moved the ball very, very well,” Faulconer said. “Our attack was really, really good, and so I was really pleased with the start. And then the second goal, it felt like we were kind of cruising a little bit.”

As the Ospreys continued to keep Charleston Southern on their toes, the opportunities kept coming, and it wasn’t long before the Ospreys found their second goal of the match. This one would come as Kayla Bond found an opening on the top shelf to make it a 2-0 game.

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After the match, Bond credited her team and the hot start for her goal.

“We were able to come out pretty hot, and I think we set the tempo for the game, scoring two goals,” Bond said. “My goal, Thais [Reiss] was able to win a header in the middle, and I was able to take a few touches and rip it into the back of the net. So it’s definitely a great way; it’s always great to score.”

After Bond’s goal, the UNF offense kept creating opportunities and pushed CSU to play stellar defense. While some shots were undoubtedly closer than others, the only shot that would find the back of the net wasn’t the Ospreys. 

On a breakaway late in the first half, Jenea Knight of Charleston Southern ripped one past Mercedes Sapp as the Bucs found their way onto the board. Now, with a one-goal lead going into the half, this was a whole new ballgame.

The second half for the Ospreys didn’t go as well as the first half. While UNF still controlled possession, Charleston Southern found a rhythm of their own and limited the Osprey’s attack.

While UNF outshot the Buccaneers 4-1 in the second half, it was looking a little closer than the Ospreys wanted it to be. Fighting until the very end, CSU narrowly equalized the game as a ball found its way in front of the net as Sapp made the play of the game to save this chance and send the Buccaneers home with a loss.

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While the Ospreys escaped with a win and improved their record to 5-1-0, their second-half performance was something that Coach Faulconer would like to improve moving forward.

“It was poor,” Coach Faulconer said about the second half. “We didn’t create a whole lot. There was not the same movement we had in the first half. So, what worked in the first half for some reason we didn’t carry it to the second half. We only had four shots in the second half and got lucky towards the end, right? So It wasn’t a good half of soccer, we played about 40 good minutes tonight, and it was enough because we’re a talented group, but it’s going to get better.”

UNF will now prepare for a power five matchup as they will head to Gainesville on Sept. 19. The Gators got the best of the Ospreys in the spring as the 0-2 was the only regular-season loss the Ospreys suffered.

On the upcoming matchup with the Gators, Kayla Bond is excited about the opportunity.

“I mean, Florida is a big school, so it’s going to be an SEC school obviously, and we are fully capable of beating them,” Bond said. “We just have to go in with an obviously positive mindset and believe in ourselves that we can do it because we can.”

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