JACKSONVILLE – After four matches against the ASUN Conference East Division, the Jacksonville State soccer team begins ASUN West Division play this weekend.
The Gamecocks begin the weekend with a trek to Conway, Arkansas to face Central Arkansas on Thursday at 7 p.m. and returning to campus on Sunday to wrap up Homecoming week at JSU with a 1 p.m. outing against Bellarmine at the JSU Soccer Field. Admission is free to all JSU home soccer matches. Sunday’s match will be streamed on ESPN+.
JSU posted a pair of wins over the last two weekends against conference foes with a 1-0 win on the road at Kennesaw State and collected a 4-2 decision over Stetson last Sunday. The four matches against the ASUN East Division do not count in the overall league standings but could factor in for postseason play. Matches in divisional play will determine the team standings within each division of the ASUN.
UCA and BU are first time opponents for Jax State on the pitch. The Sugar Bears of UCA joined the ASUN along with JSU and Eastern Kentucky in 2021 after being members of the Southland Conference. The Knights of Bellarmine are in their second year of NCAA Division I membership after making the jump from NCAA Division II in 2020. UCA starts the weekend at 5-7 overall and have recorded wins over ASUN members Jacksonville and North Florida. BU, who will host Lipscomb on Thursday evening, has put together a 3-4-5 mark on the season and claimed a win over JU in its last outing.
To start the third week against ASUN foes, the Gamecocks rank second in the league in total shots with 181 on the season and are averaging 13.9 shots per match. JSU ranks among the top-four in the ASUN in goals scored with 20 on the season. Thursday’s side, UCA, ranks second in the conference with 22 goals.
Over the last three matches, junior Cephana Deane has led JSU offensively with three goals and an assist over that three-match span. The Ajax, Ontario, Canada native was credited with the assist on Jax State’s goal versus the Owls of KSU on Sept. 26. Deane netted three goals last weekend combined against Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson. She recorded JSU’s second half goal in the setback to FGCU and drilled two goals last Sunday against the Hatters. She took over the team lead in goals with five on the season, followed by four goals from freshman Nyeemah Prescod-Beckles. Freshman Kylie Wells, who leads the Gamecocks in shots taken with 31, added her second goal of the season on Sunday.
Redshirt junior Morgan Lerch has been a mainstay for the Gamecocks between the pipes this season. Lerch ranks second in the ASUN with 58 saves on the season and a saves percentage mark of .744. She has collected three shutouts this season.