We put another week of non-conference matches in the book at the A-Sun. Several teams secured big wins for their programs and the highly anticipated start to conference play looms just one week away. If you haven’t started following our social media sites (Twitter.com/AtlanticSun & Facebook.com/AtlanticSunConference), now is a good time to start. We are hoping you can help us pick a new name for our weekly sports blogs. Until we find a winner, it’s “Free Kicks” for at least another week. Here’s a quick tour around the league …
FGCU Arkansas Post-Game - Watch
JU-Winthrop Highlights - Watch
ETSU and Belmont have highlights available on their main athletics pages as well.
Bucs Breeze Through Non-Conference Slate
ETSU breezed through the opening three weeks of the season and carry a 3-1-1 mark into the ETSU Invitational presented by DoubleTree Hotel. The Bucs beat up on a pair of non-Division I foes by a combined 6-0 score while handling UNC Asheville 4-0 for their other win. While freshman Ramey Kerns (3 goals/1 assist) paces a potent offense, the defense may be the star after allowing just two goals all season. All four matches of the tournament will be available on ASun.TV.
Thriller Hands FGCU Benchmark Win
Senior Michelle Kuhnen converted a corner kick into a game-winning goal in the 90th minute to lift FGCU past Arkansas, 1-0. The Razorbacks rank 10th in the most recent NSCAA South Region Poll. The third-year program notched its first win against an opponent from a BCS conference.
.500 Sounds Fine to Lady Bisons
While a 3-3-0 record may not be reason to get excited some places, at Lipscomb it may signify the turning of a corner. After blanking Central Arkansas 1-0, the Lady Bisons moved to .500 for the season and recorded a third non-conference victory for the first time since joining the A-Sun. Lipscomb deploys a high-pressure approach that they hope disrupts the flow of the opponent. So far so good. Through six games, the team surrendered just five goals.
Excitement … Then Disappointment
Mercer built a 2-0 halftime lead on No. 25 Georgia in front of a sell-out crowd at Bear Field. However, the Bulldogs stormed back to score twice in the second half before netting the game-winner in overtime. It marked the second-straight year that Mercer led their in-state rival late in the second half before allowing the Bulldogs to come back.
Olga Ekblom was named Atlantic Sun player of the week, while Kaili Terry received A-Sun defensive player of the week recognition. They are just the third pair of Campbell teammates to sweep the conference weekly awards, a feat last accomplished in 2004.
Right on the Cusp
A quick glance at the record may be a bit misleading for UNF. The Ospreys fell to 0-5-0 with a 2-1 loss at Clemson. The reason it may be deceptive … the loss was UNF’s fourth straight by one goal. Head coach Linda Hamilton put together one of the most ambitious schedules in the conference as UNF’s five opponents are 17-6-1 so far this year.
“We are probably going to struggle offensively. But we have been in every game this year because of our defense. I really feel like if we can find a goal or two we are going to win a game based on how our defense is playing. We are trying to play a high pressure system with very little depth because that gives us our best chance. We won the Central Arkansas game because of our pressure, because of our defending the way we defend and because of our work ethic. With the exception of Friday night we have outworked every team we have played this year. I tell them the only thing we have control over is our work ethic. We don’t have subs. We have injuries. We can’t control those things, but we can control how hard we fight. That’s what I have been most proud of is the way they keep fighting and fighting.”
Jon Ireland – Lipscomb Head Coach