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Kennesaw State hammers Jacksonville 4-1 in first round of Atlantic Sun soccer championship

The Owls controlled play from start to finish.

Kennesaw State enjoyed an easy path to the Atlantic Sun semifinals as they hammered Jacksonville, 4-1, at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.

The Owls, who dominated play throughout the evening, got on the board first with 32:18 left in the second half as Kim Fincher knocked in a deflection for the game’s first goal. Later with around 27 minutes remaining, they would stretch that advantage as Abby Roth’s header off a Brittney Reed corner slipped past the fingertips of Sara Wicks. Brittney Reed added a goal of her own with a converted penalty kick with 18:50 left to increase the margin to 3-0. Ashtah Das then kept things rolling with a goal of her own to make it 4-0 with 12:52 remaining in the contest. The Dolphins picked up a late goal with just over three minutes left to end the shutout bid.

“I was pretty pleased how we played,” said KSU coach Benji Walton. “We focused this week on sticking to things that we’re good at - possession and working the ball upfield. I thought we played both sides of the ball well offensively and defensively.”

“We had a lot of opportunities in the first half, but it was all about placing the ball in the right place,” said Fincher. “In the second half, we did a lot better job of putting the ball where it needed to be. We always felt that we could win, but that first goal (helped us realize) that we could keep going from here.”

“I think our team cam out strong. As the game went on, we got into a better rhythm,” said Reed. “As soon as Kim scored, it was a spark for our team.”

KSU will take on Florida Gulf Coast on Friday in Fort Myers, Florida, in the conference semifinals.

Meanwhile in Macon, Mercer’s women’s soccer team looks to advance to the Southern Conference semifinals when they face Chattanooga at 4pm on Sunday. The winner of that match will take on the winner of Western Carolina-ETSU on Friday at 7:30pm in Johnson City, Tennessee. Mercer, a third seed, stands with a record of 9-8-1 (6-3-0 SoCon), while the sixth-seeded Mocs sit at 6-10-2 (4-4-1 SoCon).