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Eastern Florida's Women's Soccer Team Secures Postseason Berth With 5-0 Victory

Oct. 11, 2013 - Eastern Florida State College's women's soccer team erupted for three first-half goals on Friday en route to a 5-0 home field victory over Broward College that guaranteed the Titans their third straight NJCAA Division I postseason appearance.

Eastern Florida improved to 8-2-1 and has two regular-season games remaining – Tuesday at Polk State College in Auburndale and Friday against Broward in Pembroke Pines – before its Nov. 9 district title game appearance in Mississippi.

An opponent for the game that will send the winner to the Nov. 17-23 NJCAA Women's National Championship Tournament on the Melbourne Campus has yet to be determined.

Eastern Florida – then Brevard Community College - advanced to the district title game in 2011 but lost. Last season the Titans advanced to the national championship final as the nation's top seed but were defeated.

And while much soccer remains to be played before Eastern Florida can concern itself with the 2013 national tournament the memories of last season are beginning to surface.

"It's bringing back the memories but it's bringing back the memory that we got to the final but didn't win, which makes we very motivated," said Jade Rhodes who scored the Titans fourth goal on Friday, added two assists and was one of 16 sophomores recognized on Sophomore Night.

Rhodes also was part of the Eastern Florida defense that stretched its streak of not allowing a goal to five games, all of which the Titans won.

"I feel like our recognition is coming because we haven't conceded for five games," Rhodes said. "Not only that but (sophomore co-captain) Jess (Fassnidge) our center back got a goal in the last game (a 1-0 double overtime victory over Polk), I got a goal this game, (sophomore defender) Heather (Williams) is providing some brilliant assists.

"Since the (Sept. 13) loss against Monroe (1-0) it's really pulled us together. That's what we needed."

Eastern Florida, which has struggled offensively in scoring only five goals in the three games previous to Friday, finally found its groove with sophomore Nikki Mitchell netting twice to tie classmate Jenci Villaverde for the team lead in goals with nine.

In fact all of the Titans goals were scored by sophomores with Devin McAllister and Katlyn Bales also finding the back of the net.

Sophomores Amy Clason-Messina and Katelyn Kern shared goalkeeping duties and the shutout.

"We played well today, especially after the last game (Polk)," said Fassnidge. "I think last game we sort of let them back in it and they could have scored. I think we proved today that we just come out stronger each week.

"You can tell each week we slightly improved and I think how important this game was today I think you can tell how well we've done."

Mitchell credited an increased emphasis on shooting in practice with the offense finally awakening.

"We did a lot of practice on finishing and I think it's getting to the end of the season, we're getting ready to hopefully go to nationals so we're just really focusing on capitalizing on our chances," Mitchell said.

"The defense is getting the work to get us the ball."

Eastern Florida head coach Jeff Carr, who won his 40th game in his four seasons, naturally was pleased with the outcome and the postseason berth.

"It was encouraging to see, we've been working on scoring, and we actually scored," he said. "We played everyone. I was encouraged. There were some people who scored don't usually score.

"We played sloppy at times, we still have to play better. It was very encouraging. The last few weeks we've actually started playing better and it was a great week of practice. The intensity level has picked up and that's really exciting.

"We want to go into playoffs on a good note. We're going to play to win those (remaining) games. That's our goal, to try to stay sharp and still work on things we need to work on."

Eastern Florida defeated NJCAA Region 8 foes Polk and Broward twice apiece to advance to the postseason.

Eastern Florida is ranked 10th nationally by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

Broward fell to 1-6 on the season.

Eastern Florida's nationally ranked first-year men's soccer team also has secured a NJCAA Division I postseason berth.