North Florida defeats Belmont
Shafer’s first career goal boosts Ospreys to semifinals
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Freshman forward Kathryn Shafer scored her first career goal to lead North Florida to a 1-0 victory against Belmont on Saturday in the opening round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament. It was the first A-Sun Tournament victory in program history.
“We're very excited to grab a huge tournament win,” head coach Linda Hamilton said. “Belmont is a good team and we had to play very well to come away with a victory.”
The Ospreys appeared to control the game from the start, using quickness down the flanks to generate multiple scoring opportunities. In the first 27 minutes, UNF produced six shots, while holding the Bruins to just two.
Shafer tallied the only offense UNF would need in the 37th minute on an outstanding individual effort. After receiving a pass, the freshman dribbled up the left side through the Belmont defense and beat goalkeeper Nicole Berner to the near post to give the Ospreys their 1-0 lead.
Though UNF tallied two corner kicks and two shots in the final three minutes of the first half, it could not break through to find a second goal. The Ospreys went into the break with three corners to Belmont's zero and a 9-4 advantage in shots.
After halftime, UNF kept the pedal to the floor, racking up nine shots in the first 16 minutes and constantly threatening to double their lead. In the 77th minute, Shafer had two more opportunities to notch a goal, but a header sailed just over the bar and another shot to the near post was parried by Berner.
As the second half wore on, Belmont began pushing more and more people into the attack, taking four shots in the final 13 minutes in an attempt to find an equalizer.
The most dangerous chance came with just nine seconds left on the clock, when UNF was whistled for a handball roughly 25 yards from their goal. Gretchen Sutch, a second-team All-A-Sun selection for the Bruins, stepped up and drilled a free kick towards the upper-right corner of the goal that forced UNF goalkeeper Megan Dorsey to dive for and tip over the crossbar to preserve the quarterfinal victory.
Dorsey tallied four saves to notch the eighth shutout of her season and career. Berner recorded eight saves for Belmont in the loss.
“It may have been a little more nerve-wracking than we'd have liked, but the important thing is to get out with a win,” Hamilton said. “We're happy to have the chance to play more games.”
With the win, the Ospreys move on to a semifinal matchup at top-seeded Florida Gulf Coast. The match is scheduled to be played on Friday at 7 p.m.