With one swift kick, Kaitlyn Bassett continued Jacksonville’s domination of East Tennessee State in the Atlantic Sun Conference women’s soccer tournament.
Bassett scored two goals in the Lady Dolphins to a 2-1 overtime victory over the Lady Bucs in Saturday’s quarterfinal match at Summers-Taylor Stadium.
It was her boot from the left side of the box in the 97th minute which sailed over the keeper to the far post. The goal put an end to the sudden-death affair and an end to the Lady Bucs’ season.
“It was just a matter of grinding it out,” Bassett said. “We put a few passes together and I just happened to get something over the top over the d-line. I managed to put one away.”
It was the fourth quarterfinal meeting between the two schools and the third time they’ve gone to overtime. Each time, Jacksonville has been victorious.
The Lady Dolphins improved to 9-6-3 on the season, while ETSU finished its year at 12-6-0.
“Very tough, I feel for the players,” ETSU head coach Adam Sayers said. “They were brilliant today. Once we got a foothold on the game midway through the first half, I thought we dominated. We had more chances. We had better chances, but they just weren’t going in for us.”
Bassett got Jacksonville on the scoreboard first off a rebound of Emily Culberth’s shot in the 35th minute. Culbreth was credited with the assist and it was the fifth goal of the season for Bassett.
“We have a nice looking shot by Emily Culberth,” Bassett said. “She shot it from the 18-yard box and out, and I just hit the post. It was a clean-up ball that went right to the goal.”
ETSU quickly answered as Ramey Kerns nailed a penalty kick only two minutes later. With her 21st goal of the season, Kerns continued to build on her single-season school scoring record.
The junior forward from Kings Mountain, N.C., who was named Atlantic Sun Player of the Year earlier this week, stayed aggressive, taking four shots including two on goal.
“She had a fantastic year, a brilliant individual year, but she would be the first to point out, it’s because of the way the team has played,” Sayers said. “They’ve created for her and she’s expertly finished it off.”
While she was only able to finish one against the Dolphins, Kerns took pride in how hard the Lady Bucs played in their final match of the season.
“We were regular-season champions last year and we wanted to get that again this year,” Kerns said. “That didn’t work out, but we kept our heads up, came out here and did our best. We really put forth the effort and outplayed them. They just got a lucky break at the end.”
Overall, ETSU had a 15-12 shot advantage, including 6-4 on shots on goal. Ellis Parsons and Sarah Zadrazil each attempted two shots for the Lady Bucs, and Jacksonville goalkeeper Jill D’Amico was forced to make five saves.
In addition, ETSU had a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks and committed just six fouls compared to 10 for the Lady Dolphins.
It was just the one statistic that mattered the most came out in Jacksonville’s favor.
“They just had one go in at the end,” Sayers said. “It’s cruel, it’s painful and our players deserved a lot more for that performance.
“It’s a cruel game at times. We deserved to win the game without a shadow of a doubt, but you don’t always get what you deserve in soccer. That’s what makes it exciting.”