Two weeks from the tournament starting and things are beginning to take shape. Today’s Extra Time will focus on the postseason implications of the weekend plus a look at a couple outstanding individual performances. Don’t forget to follow us on our social media sites (Twitter.com/AtlanticSun & Facebook.com/AtlanticSunConference) as well.
River City Rules
With three matches left for most teams, the River City rivals Jacksonville and UNF sit in the cat-bird’s seat. Without diving too deeply into tie-breaking scenarios, a JU win over Campbell tonight would mean that only the Dolphins and Ospreys would still be alive to host the A-Sun Championship Final Four. If UNF manages at least a draw with Campbell on Saturday, the two rivals would play a winner-take all match at Hodges Stadium on Oct. 22 for the No. 1 seed at the championship and possibly a conference title.
Dolphins Aim for Regular Season Title
In 2000, JU put together one of the most dominating seasons in A-Sun history, posting a 9-0-0 conference record and a 19-3-0 regular season mark. In the nine seasons since, the Dolphins have not finished higher than third. Every match will take on increased importance as the Dolphins (19 points) try to claim the league title as UNF (18 points) and FGCU (17 points) are breathing down JU’s neck. Coach Brian Copham’s squad faces Campbell tonight at 7:00pm. The match will be carried live on ASun.TV.
UNF’s only match this week will be a Saturday night game with Campbell also carried live on ASun.TV.
The Ospreys are lurking behind league leader JU and just ahead of challenger FGCU. Standing at 6-2-0 in conference play, UNF needs just one win to set a new school record for A-Sun victories in a single season. After missing the postseason in their first year of eligibility, UNF controls its own destiny in search of the top seed in this year’s tourney.
FGCU Still Has Title Hopes
FGCU seemed to be on track for the team’s first A-Sun title when they were stone-walled by USC Upstate keeper Rachel Collins in a 0-0 tie in Spartanburg. The Eagles out-shot the Spartans 25-4 in the match, but could not get one past Collins. The tie left FGCU two points behind league-leader Jacksonville. The advantage the Eagles own is as still the league’s only unbeaten team (5-0-2) and have three matches (all at home) remaining on the schedule as opposed to two for both JU and UNF. FGCU is 7-1-2 in their last 10 matches and are receiving votes in the NSCAA Regional Rankings.
Collins Makes Case for Freshman of the Year
Rachel Collins, who cemented her name in the USC Upstate record books a few times over the weekend, helped the Spartans earn double-overtime draws against Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast. Collins is currently riding a shutout streak of 247:10 which is the longest such streak since the 2004 season when Diana Wabnitz posted a streak of 407:23 (Sept. 9, 2004 – Oct. 6, 2004). Her 103 saves through 15 matches leads the A-Sun, while placing her second in saves in a single-season D-I era, fourth for saves in a single season in program history and fifth for saves in a career. With the two shutouts, Collins increased her season total to three, which is the most in D-I history, third-best in a career and fifth-most in school history during a single-season. Collins' two ties puts her first in D-I history, while placing her in a tie for first in program history (single-season), she also ranks third for ties in a career.
"I am proud of our girls today as the battled throughout the entire match. Our team has believed in itself and that really showed today as we earned a double-overtime draw against the first-place team in the Atlantic Sun, FGCU. No one expected us to compete today or Friday night, but our girls played their hearts out and we look to continue to build on our success as we travel to Kennesaw State and Mercer next weekend. “
Renee Lopez – USC Upstate Head Coach