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Friday a Big Night for Eastern Florida Women's Soccer Team
Oct. 10, 2013 - Friday's 5 p.m. Eastern Florida State College women's soccer game against Broward College is important for several reasons:
• An Eastern Florida victory assures the Titans a spot in the NJCAA Division I postseason.
• The game is the final regular-season home match for 16 Eastern Florida sophomores who hope to be playing on the Melbourne Campus field when the NJCAA National Championship Tournament convenes on Nov. 18.
• The game represents yet another opportunity for Eastern Florida's backline to extend its four-game scoreless streak dating back to a 1-0 defeat at Monroe Community College on Sept. 13.
Following the loss at Monroe, Eastern Florida blanked Jackson (MI) College, 4-0, Middle Georgia, 2-0, Broward, 3-0, and Polk State College, 1-0 in double overtime.
Eastern Florida, Broward and Polk play each other three times each to determine which one team advances to the postseason out of NJCAA Region 8. Eastern Florida also defeated Polk 4-1 on Sept. 7 putting it into position to clinch the berth on Friday.
While Eastern Florida has been stout defensively it has been scatter-shot offensively. The Titans rank fifth nationally in shots with 267, second in shots per game (26.7) and seventh in shots on goal (182) but only 46th in goals scored (31).
"Obviously our inability to finish has been a big concern," said Eastern Florida head coach Jeff Carr. "We can only continue to play our game, execute our offense, press forward and get the job done.
"The lack of finishing does put more pressure on our defenders but they have been up to the task and we expect they will continue to be."
Sophomore forwards Jenci Villaverde, Nikki Mitchell and Amanda Lodge continue to lead Eastern Florida in scoring with nine, seven and four goals respectively. Lodge has five assists, Villaverde four and Mitchell three.
Sophomore goalkeeper Katelyn Kern has allowed one goal in 459 minutes while classmate Amy Clason-Messina has allowed seven in 490 minutes. Kern has posted three shutouts.
Eastern Florida has conceded eight goals in 10 games and allowed opponents only 45 shots.
The sophomores who will be recognized on Friday are Villaverde, Mitchell, Lodge, Kern and Clason-Messina; defenders Jess Fassnidge, Jade Rhodes, Heather Williams and Melissa Williams; and midfielders Sue Kumaning, Kelsey Smith, Sarah Compton, Mariah Robbins, Katlyn Bales, Devin McAllister and Kimmie Tierney.
"Eleven of the sophomores had the experience of reaching the national championship game as freshmen and finishing as national runner-up," Carr said. "They and their teammates want to get back, especially with the tournament being held on our on-campus field for the first time. Friday night is the next step in that process."
Eastern Florida is 7-2-1 and ranked 10th nationally by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Broward is 1-5 having scored only four goals in 2-1 and 4-3 losses to Polk.