Moseley Makes Her Mark in 1-0 Win Over Flagler
LAKELAND – Sometimes the best offense is a good backup goalkeeper, and having two goalkeepers like Florida Southern has this year makes the defense that much better. Wednesday evening against Flagler, Martina Tangen Billing and Erin Moseley both made four saves while playing one half each, and Moseley also assisted a goal by Morgan Sammons early in the second half that gave the Moccasins a 1-0 win over the Saints.
“It shows you what a funny game soccer is,” said FSC head coach Ben Strawbridge. “We had a team out-play us for pretty much 90 minutes tonight, and Flagler certainly deserved a win based on how they played, but we found a way to get the result. We were able to fight our way through it, and I have to commend our players for that. It’s exactly what you have to do sometimes to beat good teams.”
The only goal featured a combination that would have to be termed unlikely at the start of the match. With Tangen Billing making her 70th career start to move within one of the school’s all-time record for a goalkeeper, Moseley was on the bench; Sammons, who had only eight shots in the last year-and-a-half, was starting in her usual spot in the center of the Moccasins’ back line. Sammons eventually moved forward though, Moseley was inserted at halftime in a pre-determined move, and fate took over from there.
The first time Moseley touched the ball came in the first minute of the second half, and the freshman launched a punt right down the middle of the field to start a Florida Southern attack. It didn’t take long after that for Sammons to track it down, beat a defender and slip a shot over the head of Flagler goalkeeper Cristina Coca for her first goal of the season. It was the seventh career goal for Sammons, a junior from nearby Lithia, and six of those have either tied the score or given Florida Southern the lead in the second half.
Moseley, meanwhile, became only the second Moccasin goalkeeper to ever record an assist. Lacy Emmerling was the first, doing it in a 2-0 win over Webber on October 11, 2000. That one also came on a long punt early in the second half.
On this night, fate wasn’t quite finished with Moseley. Having already made two saves in the game, Moseley faced off against Flagler’s Lindsay Zullo in the 73rd minute on a penalty kick. Zullo’s kick bounced off the right post, however, and the shutout was intact.
Zullo would give her a more serious test in the 77th minute after a corner kick taken by Loren Cate. A free header in the box forced Moseley into action, but she made the save on what was nearly Flagler’s final shot of the night. Their last one came from Zullo in the 85th minute but was well over the crossbar.
With Zullo taking nine shots in the match, Flagler was able to out-shoot Florida Southern 16-10, but the Mocs turned away every opportunity the Saints had. A case in point came early in the game when one sustained attack featured clearances by Sammons, Lexie Bottomley and Alyssa Abrahamsen as the Saints came at them relentlessly down the left side. It finally ended with Tangen Billing making a save at the near post.
A similar situation occurred in the final five minutes, when the Mocs were trying to protect their 1-0 lead. The Saints maintained possession for nearly two minutes in Florida Southern territory, but the same group of defenders, with extra help this time from the likes of Brooke Williams, Jackie Metz, and Holly Bennett, turned the tide.
“The reason we got the win tonight was a strong team effort on defense,” said Strawbridge. “They just kept battling out there, and I really like the way they had a short memory in regards to some of the things we did so poorly earlier in the game.”
The first half saw Flagler take six shots, with Tangen Billing saving four of them, and another one a close miss just to the left of the post. The Moccasins had five shots in the first half, but none of them were on target. Their best scoring chances came on a pair of free kicks by Kara Moore, and a near break-away by Emily Griffith, who flashed down the center of the field on a long run before being stopped one-on-one by center back Tara Whitaker.
The Mocs also had to repel eight corner kicks in the game, while taking only one themselves. The most dangerous ones were cleared by Metz and Adi Alvarado.
“Flagler played very well and disrupted a lot of things we were trying to do,” said Strawbridge. “But we fought through it and found a way to win. You’re going to have games like that sometimes, and the good teams will find a way. We need to remember that the rest of the year.”
Florida Southern will be on the road Sunday when it travels to North Carolina to face Pfeiffer University, a team coming off an appearance in last year’s NCAA Tournament. It will be the Moccasins’ final non-conference game before they finish the regular season with four straight games in the Sunshine State Conference.