JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 20, 2013) – Over the past four seasons, the ETSU women’s soccer team has won 72 percent of its contests at Summers-Taylor Stadium; however, the Buccaneers were unable to come away with a positive result in their home finale Sunday afternoon, falling to Jacksonville, 3-0.
Featuring an atypical offensive system of play, Jacksonville entered Sunday’s match a winner of four of its previous five matches.
Despite a solid defensive effort by ETSU, the Dolphins (10-6-0, 5-2-0) capitalized on a haphazard play to grab an early 1-0 lead.
A 17th-minute shot by Kaitlyn Bassett ricocheted off the post to the waiting foot of teammate Sarah Moghadas, who buried a shot into the top left corner of the net, giving Jacksonville the match’s first score.
“We started the game well,” ETSU head coach Adam Sayers said. “Our shape and compactness out of possession was organized and tight. Tactically, the players were carrying out the game plan to good effect. We were preventing them from attacking in the way that they typically like to attack.”
Before halftime, the Buccaneers (6-8-2, 2-4-1) hurt their own cause when a miscommunication between Samantha Kron (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) and goalkeeper Jasmine Elliott (Preston, England) resulted in an own goal.
“Once we’re down 2-nil, we’re in a bit of a hole,” Sayers said. “We’ve got to come out and push forward more, which creates more gaps for them.”
The Dolphins took advantage of those gaps, adding another goal in the 76th minute to cement the 3-0 win.
"Jacksonville is a very good team, and is always dangerous going forward," Sayers said.
ETSU recorded 17 shots in the match, while Jacksonville registered 18.
“When we regained possession, we passed well, switched play effectively, and created several opportunities, including a chance which hit the post," Sayers said. "Even after the goals and at the start of the second half, the girls were doing very well in terms of implementing the instructions and what we asked, but coming back from 2-nil down was tough.”
The 3-0 loss marked ETSU’s largest margin of defeat at Summers-Taylor Stadium since Sept. 5, 2008 when the Bucs lost to Vanderbilt, 3-0.
Over the past few weeks, ETSU has fallen victim to two come-from-behind efforts, losing narrowly to first-place Florida Gulf Coast, and Mercer. Friday, Oct. 18, ETSU tied with North Florida, 2-2, despite outshooting the Ospreys, 46-12.
"We've just hit a stretch of bad luck, in addition to some other factors and it has resulted in the results not going our way," Sayers said.
In this weekend’s pair of games, ETSU endured several unfavorable bounces, including multiple shots hitting the posts and crossbar. Adversely, Jacksonville’s game-winning goal came off a rebound of a shot which struck the post.
“When they hit the post, it fell back to their player, who put it in,” Sayers said. “When we hit the post, it falls to them and they clear it. Likewise in Friday’s match, we hit the frame of the goal several times, when on another day those chances may have gone in. We’re not getting the luck that our play essentially deserves.”
Despite the less-than-ideal result, Sayers remained positive about his team’s performance and its chances to qualify for the upcoming Atlantic Sun conference tournament.
“You can look at these games where the results haven’t gone our way, and there are only a couple of them where we actually haven’t played well," Sayers said. "Overall, several of the performances have been good. We just have to continue to play like that and work very hard for each other and the team, with maximum effort and self-belief.”
Currently tied for seventh place in the league standings with North Florida, ETSU will hit the road next weekend for an all-important final road trip of the year, visiting sixth-place Lipscomb, along with Northern Kentucky.
The Bucs will take on Lipscomb Friday, Oct. 25 at 7:00 p.m. ETSU trails Lipscomb by just two points for the sixth and final spot in the league tournament.
When asked what the team needs to do in its final two regular season games, Sayers was succinct.
“Get the points.”