Nov. 8, 2002
Buies Creek, NC - After ending a six game losing streak to Jacksonville University last month, Florida Atlantic University lost a heartbreaker to the Dolphins 3-2 in overtime of the semi-finals of the Atlantic Sun Championship Friday night. Freshman Julie Ferguson and sophomore Janine Aylward scored for FAU.
"We played as a team and we played all the way to the end, said an emotional Lauren Lucena. "It's nobody's fault, they just had the last shot. We can't say much, we fought all the way till the last whistle was blown."
The Lady Owls came out of the gates aggressive as the team forced pressure into the Dolphins side of the field for the first eight minutes. The teams battled back and forth from there. In the ninth minute, off of a defensive giveaway, Michaelene Cadiz sent in a shot to the left corner that FAU keeper Molly Keating made a diving save to keep the game at zeros.
The Lady Owls got a break in the 43rd minute when Rhonda Jones, playing on an injured right knee, sent in a through pass that deflected off of defender Lauren Starmer. JU keeper Stephanie Fowler immediately charged after the ball but Ferguson touched it just enough for it to hop over her and knock it in for the opening goal, her 10th on the season and take the lead into half.
The Dolphins would not give up. Inge Heiremans opened up the half with a quick strike to the left post that was saved by Keating to preserve the lead. But Heiremans would cause problems for FAU minutes later. In the 58th minute, Kristen Holstrom sent a cross from the left side, straight into the box, where Heiremans one-timed to tie the game at 1-1.
A dead stalemate ensued after the goal as both teams battled back and forth for possession. The Lady Owls would respond though when Ferguson made a run down the right side and sent a cross into the box that Fowler punched away to the feet of Aylward. Aylward struck the ball past the keeper to take the lead in the 82nd minute.
It seemed as though FAU would be advancing to the finals but a disputed foul in the left corner of Lady Owls territory gave the Dolphins a free kick. Vaness Illanes sent the kick into the box with 1:31 remaining that was immediately headed into the air. Suzanne Fossum leaped into the air and headed the ball to the left corner of the net where a diving Danielle Castro could not keep the ball out to tie the game 2-2.
In the overtime period, both teams were fighting to stay alive in the A-Sun championship as elimination was on the line. Again, a back and forth battle proceeded with emotions running high. Then with 2:40 remaining in the first overtime, Heiremans would strike again. Ranveig Aas-Hanssen sent a pass to Heiremans at the top of the box where she settled and hit a looping shot just over the outreached hands of Keating into the back of the net for the 3-2 win.
FAU ends the season tying the record for most wins in a season as the team falls to 14-5. The team tied or broke 20 team and individual records this year, in what was one of the greatest offensive seasons in Lady Owl history.