JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The North Florida men's soccer team defeated cross-town rival Jacksonville University, 2-0 this evening in Atlantic Sun Conference action. Junior Helge Pietschmann scored both goals as the Ospreys improved to 4-4 on the season and 1-1 in A-Sun play.
The Ospreys remain unblemished at home with a 3-0 record at Hodges Stadium in 2014 and tonight marked the first win over Jacksonville since 2009. The rivalry drew a crowd of 1,145, the second only to a season-opening crowd of 1,178. The shutout for North Florida is the second of the season and first of Dolphins since 2003.
"We're obviously excited to beat JU at home but for us getting those big three points after a tough conference opener is the most important thing," said Head Coach Derek Marinatos. "What we're most pleased with tonight is we put together a solid team effort."
Pietschmann scored the first of his two tallies in the 40th minute on a pretty connection with senior Teddy Mulamba. Pietschmann scored his first goal as an Osprey on a perfect centering pass from the short corner by the senior midfielder.
The North Florida defense put forth a dominating effort, allowing only one shot in the first half and a total of three on the night. The Ospreys had plenty of opportunities in the first 45 minutes and were knocking on the door the entire first half. Sophomore Alex Morrell had two of his shots in the first half get by the goalkeeper but saved by the Dolphins last line of defense.
"I thought we did a great job with our defensive shape, which we made an emphasis on this week in practice," added Marinatos. "I think we took away a lot of what they tried to do and we were able create going forward on our own."
In the 75th minute, Pietschmann was the benefactor of a tremendous hustle play by Jay Bolt. The sophomore dispossessed a Jacksonville defender in the box and left behind a pass while charging toward the net for Pietschmann who tucked a ball inside the near, right post. Pietschmann, who has only played in six games this year, has eight points and is among the Atlantic Sun leaders in assists with four.
"We really challenged Helge (Pietschmann) this week and he is really coming around with his fitness and his health," said Marinatos. "We were proud to see him get two goals."
Junior Kyle Nasta earned his second career shutout but was not credited with a save. The third-year netminder was crucial, knocking away several dangerous crosses and halting numerous Jacksonville advances.
The Ospreys finished the night with a 16-3 advantage in shots and a 10-2 edge in corner kicks. Jacksonville remains winless in Atlantic Sun play, dropping to 0-2 and 3-7 overall.
North Florida will continue its Atlantic Sun Conference schedule next weekend when they travel to Spartanburg, S.C. to take on USC upstate. The Saturday night match is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.