Women’s soccer takes road match from Stetson with high-scoring performance

Riley Platt, Sports Editor

The University of North Florida (UNF) women’s soccer team turned heads on Sunday with an impressive 3-1 win over conference rival Stetson University.

The 2022 season started out rather rough for the Ospreys, winning just one of their first seven games. That’s the last thing on their minds heading into this new week, though, as Sunday’s match was one to remember.

The Stetson Hatters entered this Atlantic Sun showdown, having taken a different path. The Hatters started out 5-5-1, posting an unbeaten record in conference play through three fixtures. This came to a grinding halt on Sunday, although it didn’t initially look like this would be the case. 

Stetson wasted no time, striking from distance to take a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute. This was one of only two shots taken by the Hatters during the first half, a statistic that UNF turned on its head. The Ospreys lacked nothing in the aggression department, firing a total of 10 shots during the first 45 minutes of play.

As one might expect, this paid dividends. Following a free kick by UNF defender Erin Jones, teammate Zara Siassi went up for a contested header. She got just the right contact on the ball, sending it past the keeper to knot things up at one goal a piece.

No other goals resulted from UNF’s first-half barrage of shots, but they entered halftime on even ground. The momentum did carry over through the break, though, as it didn’t take long for the Ospreys to soar ahead.

UNF defender Haynes Grant sent a brilliant ball to Notre Dame transfer Gabby Daly, who worked her way through the box before putting it in the back of the net. Just eight minutes into the second half, the Ospreys were now in control of the match with a 2-1 lead.

The offense may have given UNF the lead, but it was the defense that put things on lock in the second half. The Hatters never managed to record a single shot following halftime. This may seem obvious, but the chances of holding onto a lead increase significantly when the opponent doesn’t shoot the ball once.

Just to be safe, an Allie Fekany penalty kick goal in the 68th minute bolstered UNF’s lead to 3-1. Things remained this way, with the Ospreys picking up their first win of conference play. While this was the first such occasion of the 2022 season, head coach Eric Faulconer was not caught by surprise.

“We’ve had our moments this season, but we haven’t put [together] a complete 90 minutes,” Faulconer said. “I’m super proud of the team tonight- we needed this win.”

This win will help an Ospreys squad that was desperately in need of one. UNF has only lost two Atlantic Sun games this season, but a myriad of weather-induced cancellations has seen the squad play a fraction of the matches that their opponents have.

UNF will have a chance to keep the momentum rolling on Thursday at home against Kennesaw State, assuming Hurricane Ian doesn’t have an unwanted impact. Either way, the Ospreys have something to build off of. It’s all conference play from here, so this squad’s story is far from being set in stone.


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