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Mark DeCotis, Athletic Communications

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4-1 Scrimmage Defeat to Jamaican National Team Doesn't Deter Eastern Florida Women

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Aug. 12, 2014 - There were plenty of smiles on the faces of Eastern Florida's women's soccer team and coaches on Tuesday night.

Although the Titans lost a 4-1 lightning-shortened scrimmage to the Jamaican Women's National Team on the Melbourne Campus no one was hanging their heads.

Jamie Perriello
EFSC's Jamie Perriello goes all out to control the ball during the scrimmage with the Jamaican National Women's Team.

After all an NJCAA team with 21 new players – 20 of them freshman – played nearly even with a professional team seeking to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada.

"I'm actually surprised," said Eastern Florida head coach Jeff Carr. "Especially the first half we could have gone up 2-1 but (forward) Helen (Ramsey) hit that post."

Jamaica scored first for a 1-0 lead but then EFSC freshman Kaila Henson put a header into the back of the net for a 1-1 tie and not long after Ramsey's shot past the Jamaican goalkeeper bounced off the right post.

Jamaica's pace, speed and ball handling eventually ruled the evening and the visitors led 4-1 when lightning forced a delay and then cancellation of the remaining 30 minutes.

"That's the best we've played in our three scrimmages," Carr said. "I was pleasantly excited after the effort tonight. We actually took the game to them a little and we had some scoring chances."

Sophomore midfielder and captain Jamie Perriello echoed Carr's sentiments.

"Once we got playing with them we saw that we could play with them even though they are really good," Perriello said.

"We played our game, we surprised ourselves how well we played. It was awesome playing with them.

"I couldn't believe we actually scored on a national team. It definitely boosts our confidence a lot."

Eastern Florida continues with scrimmages before opening the regular season at home on Sept. 5 against Spring Hill College's junior varsity. The Titans travel to play Northwood University in West Palm Beach on Thursday, visit Florida Tech in Melbourne at 7:30 p.m. Monday and Flagler College in St. Augustine on Aug. 25.

Tuesday's outcome could put some extra spring in their steps.

"I'm pretty excited now," Carr said. I told the players at halftime if they played that well going forward that's really exciting for our team."

Ditto for Henson.

"It's nice to be able to play someone at this level it's going to help us in the long run," said Henson. "They were fast and quick and everything they did made us that much better.

"They were definitely a lot faster, their passes, everything was quicker. They made us step up. We definitely had to defend a lot quicker."

Speaking of defending freshman goalkeeper Asmara Holmes did her share.

"It was a really good experience," Holmes said. "I felt we could keep up with them. I think this really helped us click. That's what we've been waiting for."

She did admit to some frustration with the goals Jamaica scored but in the end she soaked up as much knowledge as she could.

"It helps me figure out where I am as a keeper and where we are as a team. It's a good thing."

The Jamaicans are using Miami as a training base as they prepare for their World Cup qualifying effort.