28 Oct UNF, JU men’s soccer teams in must-win situations
The University of North Florida and Jacksonville University men’s soccer teams are in must-win situations on Saturday, on the road, to qualify for the ASUN tournament that begins next week.
The top-six of the eight conference teams that field men’s soccer advance to the first round of the tournament, at the home of the highest-seeded teams, on Nov. 5. Four teams have clinched spots based on the ASUN’s points system (three for a victory, one for a tie): Central Arkansas (15 points), Lipscomb (12), Stetson (12) and Florida Gulf Coast (9).
More:Ospreys basketball ready to swoop into a new season – with enhancements coming to UNF Arena
More:ASUN notebook: Thais Reiss continues to churn out clutch goals for UNF women’s soccer team
UNF, JU, Liberty and Bellarmine are all tied with six points each (all with 2-4 conference records). UNF will play at Liberty on Saturday at 6 p.m. and JU will play at Bellarmine at 7 p.m.
Liberty and Bellarmine hold the tie-breakers over UNF and JU in case of a draw, so the Ospreys (4-7-1) and Dolphins (3-10) have to win to get in.
The struggles for the Ospreys and Dolphins this season are clear-cut: a lack of offense. UNF is fifth in the ASUN in goals per game with 1.08 and JU is last at 0.77.
And since promising road victories earlier this month, both teams have failed to score a goal.
UNF won 1-0 at Stetson on Oct. 16, but has since lost to Florida Gulf Coast and Florida Atlantic by 1-0 scores. JU, the defending conference champions, has been blanked three games in a row since winning 2-0 at Liberty on Oct. 8. The Dolphins have lost to Lipscomb 3-0, Mercer 1-0 and Central Arkansas 2-0.
Ben Smith jersey to be retired
Jacksonville University will add another basketball jersey to the rafters at Swisher Gym next month.
Guard Ben Smith, who led the Dolphins to consecutive ASUN regular-season championships and two NIT appearances between 2006-10, will have his No. 3 jersey retired during a ceremony at halftime of JU’s game against North Carolina A&T on Nov. 13 at 2 p.m.
He will join Roger Strickland (52), Artis Gilmore (53), Rex Morgan (24), James Ray (43), Otis Smith (32) and Dee Brown (4) among basketball players to have their jerseys retired, along with volleyball player Anne Morton.
A native of Dublin, Ga., Smith was a four-time All-ASUN selection and led the Dolphins in scoring his final three seasons. He is second on the all-time list in scoring at JU with 1,971 points, trailing only Ralph Tiner (1962-65). He is also sixth all-time in points scored in a single-season with 652 in 2009-10.
Smith also is the all-time JU leader in free throws made (609), assists (515) and steals (230).
Moro ups the ante
University of North Florida volleyball player Rocio Moro set the ASUN record on Sept. 13 when she earned her sixth conference defensive player of the week award.
She’s not done.
Moro, a sophomore libero from Puerto Rico, was named the defensive player of the week for the seventh time — and her third of the season — after averaging 5.58 digs per set in the Ospreys’ three victories last weekend over Bellarmine, Lipscomb and Eastern Kentucky on successive days at UNF Arena.
UNF won all three matches by 3-1 scores in the ASUN crossover format against the ASUN West teams. The victories also pushed the Ospreys’ overall record to 20-3, their first 20-victory season since 2015.
Moro had 67 digs in all in the three matches, surpassing 400 for the season, and had two games of 24 and 26 digs, giving her eight for the season.
Moro leads the ASUN in digs and is 16th in the nation.
UNF coach Kristen Wright also reached a milestone with the team’s first victory over Lipscomb since 2012. Wright has now coached a victory against all 11 current members of the ASUN.
Osprey women’s golf cruises
The University of North Florida women’s golf team closed the fall season out with a dominant 11-shot victory in the Palmetto Intercollegiate at the Turtle Point Country Club on Kiawah Island, S.C. The team score of 8-under 856 also broke the school record by one shot.
Four starters finished among the top-20, led by Christin Eisenbeiss (7-under 209), who was second to winner Zulaikah Nasser of Sam Houston State by three shots. Mindy Herrick (3-under) was sixth, Daniela Gonzalez (2-over) tied for 16th and Liss Davalos (3-over) tied for 19th.
It was UNF’s 14th tournament victory and ensured that it will win at least once in each of the past four seasons. The Ospreys have won five of their last eight 54-hole events.
UNF also broke the school record for low 18-hole score with an opening 10-under 278 as Herrick and Gonzalez both shot 69 and Jessica Cai had a 70.
Eisenbeiss’ 68 in the final round enabled her to match her best 54-hole college score. Herrick added to her program record with a 14th career top-10.
Top-five streak ends
The Jacksonville women’s golf team had its streak of top-six finishes in fall tournaments end with a tie for eighth at the Florida International Pat Bradley Invitational at Lakewood National.
JU had finished sixth or higher four times in a row, its longest streak since the 2002 fall season, when the team finished among the top-four in all four events.
Freshman Casey Powell posted her fourth top-20 finish of the fall season to lead the Dolphins. A final-round 71 enabled her to tie for 16th at 4-over 220.
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