Jacksonville, Florida Gulf Coast advance to ASUN semifinals
By Official Florida FC
The Flagler College men’s soccer program waited a decade to lift the Peach belt Conference Tournament title. Another day was not going to kill the Saints.
Flagler (4-2-3) topped Francis Marion 5-4 in penalty kicks in St. Augustine. The two teams were tied at 2-all after 90 minutes of regulation and 20 minute of overtime.
Flagler goalie Andrea Lubbia made six saves, including one in the penalty kick shootout to clinch the win.
“It’s been a tough year all around, but in hindsight we are thankful for the adversity we have faced,” Flagler head coach Chris Kranjc said. “It helped to cultivate the spirit that this team has shown throughout the season. From overcoming injuries, to overcoming COVID, schedule changes and many more issues, the team was able to create a bond and togetherness that helped us end the season on a high.
“Andrea became a huge player for us during our playoff run and pulled off some amazing saves when it really mattered, non-more so than in the penalty shootouts. Extremely proud of this team and everything they have accomplished, winning the first title in 10 years is an incredible achievement!”
Kranjc completed his third season at the helm. Flagler was 4-12-1 in 2019 and occasionally had trouble completing passes in the midfield.
Flagler trailed twice in the final. Francis Marion’s Mauricio Castorino opened the scoring in the 38th minute, but Flagler’s Al Cooper responded 68 seconds later. Francis Marion added another in the 59th, but the Saints equalized with Chris Stokes’ 83rd minute goal.
ASUN semifinals coming to Jacksonville
The business end of ASUN Men’s Soccer Tournament will return to Jacksonville for the first time since 2017.
Thursday’s semifinals at Jacksonville University will feature a pair of Florida teams: Florida Gulf Coast (2-3-4) and Jacksonville University (5-4-1).
Florida Gulf Coast, who won the 2017 tournament, has advanced to the semifinals for the 10th straight season. The Eagles beat North Florida in penalty kicks on Saturday night.
Ethan Dudley scored the Eagle equalizer in the 86th minute from the penalty spot. The junior defender from St. Johns celebrated his 21st birthday by scoring his first collegiate goal.
Florida Gulf Coast will face Bellarmine in Thursday’s first semifinal at 4:05 p.m. The second semifinal will feature Jacksonville hosting Lipscomb at 7:05.
Jacksonville eliminated Stetson with a 3-0 win in Saturday’s quarterfinal. Former Fleming Island standout Reed Davis scored his conference-leading fifth goal to help the Dolphins advance to their first ASUN Tournament semifinal since 2017.
Featured photo courtesy of Lauren Moore, Flagler College Athletics.