Bassett scores two, nets golden goal in 97th minute
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 27, 2012) – Kaitlyn Bassett scored both of Jacksonville’s goals, including the game-winner in the seventh minute of overtime, as the ETSU women’s soccer team fell, 2-1, at Summers-Taylor Stadium on Saturday night in the 2012 Atlantic Sun Championship Quarterfinals.
Bassett took control of a ball that was deflected through the left side of the penalty area, floating a shot over the diving ETSU (12-6-0, 6-3-0 A-Sun) keeper Kara Krajenta (Cordova, Tenn.) and inside the far post to end ETSU’s chance at an A-Sun title. Lady Buc sophomore Ellis Parsons (Cardiff, Wales) nearly won the game in the first minute of the extra period, but JU defender Becca Massip cleared the shot off the goal line after it had beaten A-Sun All-Freshman keeper Jill D'Amico.
For the second year in a row, the Lady Buccaneers’ season comes to a close on a golden goal. In last year’s A-Sun Semifinals, Ali Meek scored in the 96th minute to shoot Mercer past ETSU and into the final. This year, it was Bassett who did the damage, scoring first in the 35th minute and sending JU to the semifinals on her sixth score of the year with 3:08 on the clock.
“Firstly, I feel very much for our players because they were absolutely brilliant tonight,” ETSU head coach Adam Sayers said. “These girls did everything we asked of them and deserved something from this game. I’m very proud of them.
“Jacksonville is a very good team, and started the game well with lots of possession in the central midfield. They play with a system that affords them a spare man in that area of the pitch, but we were organized and disciplined in our defending throughout. We congratulate Jacksonville and wish them well next week, but I am so proud of our players and feel they deserved more.”
Atlantic Sun Player of the Year Ramey Kerns (Kings Mountain, N.C.) scored the ETSU goal, knocking in her fourth penalty conversion of the year following a Jacksonville handball inside the penalty area. The goal moved Kerns’ ETSU record-breaking season total to 21, and bumped her up to a tie for fifth in Atlantic Sun history. Kerns and Bassett finished with a game-high four shots each.
Both sides had their chances to score, but ETSU’s missed opportunities came in heartbreaking fashion. Aside from the near game-winner from Parsons, Kerns was presented with a one-on-one situation against D’Amico in the second half, but sent her opportunity high of the crossbar. ETSU outshot JU by a margin of 15-12 for the game, and put six shots on goal to the Dolphins’ four, but could only manage the first-half equalizer.
Freshman Megan Wynne (St. Albans, England) had the first good chance to score on a cold Saturday night in Johnson City. A-Sun Freshman of the Year Sarah Zadrazil (St. Gilgen, Austria) played Wynne up the right side, hitting her fellow classmate in stride near the top-right corner of the box. D’Amico came rushing out in an attempt to get to the ball first, but Wynne won the race and attempted to send a chip shot over the JU keeper’s head. In desperation, D’Amico reacted, reached up and got a piece of the ball to send it away from goal.
Bassett opened the scoring with just under 11 minutes to play in the first half. A-Sun Second Team All-Conference selection Emily Culbreth took a shot from a few yards outside the top of the 18-yard box that hit the crossbar and deflected back out. Bassett – another Second Team All-Conference selection – came charging in for the rebound and beat a recovering Krajenta to the ball to put the Dolphins ahead.
Just two minutes after taking the lead, a JU defender was whistled for a handball in the box while trying to control a pass with no ETSU attackers in sight. Referee JJ Blodgett awarded the Lady Buccaneers a penalty kick, which Kerns converted with a hard strike to the left side, leveling the score.
“Our response to going a goal down was excellent,” Sayers added. "We deserved our equalizer. As the half went on we began to keep possession more, and our passing was crisp and incisive. We switched play very well to get the ball into the wide areas where the space was, and could then play back into midfield between Jacksonville’s lines.”
Halftime left the game still very much up for grabs. JU took six first-half shots to ETSU’s five, and had two attempts from the corner to one for the Lady Bucs.
ETSU’s second half opportunities were plentiful, beginning with the high blast from Kerns. Zadrazil played the nation’s leading goal scorer up the center of the field with a through ball from the right side. The pass sent Kerns on a breakaway with D’Amico, but the shot sailed high.
In the 68th minute, freshman Alexa Passingham (Leicestershire, England) drove a powerful header toward goal off a free kick from Samantha Kron (Paradise Valley, Ariz.), but D’Amico was there to save it. Kron’s free kick went about 30 yards through the air before coming down in a crowded box, finding the head of Passingham on the left side. Passingham’s header looked like a no-doubter off her head, until it was snagged by the JU keeper.
Kerns and Passingham were denied on separate opportunities later on in the half. Kerns sent a shot from inside the box to the left post, but a diving D’Amico made another of her four saves. Passingham then drilled a shot from outside the left half of the area, just missing the upper-left corner.
For the third time in four A-Sun Tournament meetings between ETSU and JU, the game went to overtime. In the two previous postseason overtime games, JU had advanced past the Lady Bucs in a penalty shootout back in the quarterfinals of 2006 and ’08.
ETSU came out attacking from the start. Less than a minute in, Kron took a corner which set up an excellent opportunity for Parsons. If not for Massip on the goal line, ETSU would have been celebrating a victory and back-to-back trips to the A-Sun Semifinals.
Instead, Bassett put JU back into the semifinals for the first time since 2010, when it hosted as the No. 1 seed and fell to Mercer in the final.
“Overtime was very similar to the second half, in the sense that we played very well, created several chances and applied a lot of pressure on,” Sayers commented. "Unfortunately, JU broke and nicked one toward the end.”
Although ETSU will not play another game until August of 2013, it enjoyed a second consecutive successful season under the second-year head coach in Sayers. For the second year in a row, the Lady Bucs boasted both the conference’s player and freshman of the year, and for the second straight year ETSU tied the program record for wins in a season with 12. In two seasons with Sayers, ETSU is a combined 24-10-1, its best two-year stretch in its 16-year program history.
- ETSU finishes the season at 12-6-0, its second 12-win season in as many years. ETSU’s only other season of 12 wins came in 2003, when it also went 12-6-0.
- Ramey Kerns scored her 21st goal of the year, cementing her ETSU single-season record over the previous high of 12 set by Erin Ashton in 2002. Kerns’ 21 goals in a season are tied for the fifth most in Atlantic Sun history, while her 46 points cracks the conference’s top 10.
- For the second year in a row, the Lady Bucs’ season ends on a golden goal in overtime. Ali Meek struck for Mercer in the 96th minute of the 2011 A-Sun Semifinals, and Bassett scored in the 97th minute on Saturday night.
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For more information on ETSU women's soccer, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women's soccer links.