A Hero's Finish for Howard; Moccasins Beat Nova 1-0 on Reserve Forward's 71st-Minute Goal
DAVIE – After checking into the game midway through the second half, Jovaughn Howard had only one goal in mind, and one goal was exactly what he got. Better yet for the Moccasins, one goal was exactly what they needed. With Howard scoring in the 71st minute and Andres Guzman coming up with several critical saves in the game, Florida Southern was able to hold on for a 1-0 win at Nova Southeastern.
“I have to give the credit for putting Jovaughn in right there to team captain Ashley Holmes,” said FSC coach Hugh Seyfarth. “It was really his idea, feeling like we needed to stretch the field a little bit.”
Howard got his chance after the Sharks were whistled for a foul deep in the Moccasins’ back third. James Gibson sent the long free kick downfield where it was flicked on by midfielder Adam Hansjons. Howard broke free down the left side of the field, turning on the jets to beat the single defender on him and take the ball straight into the box. He easily beat goalkeeper Andrea Giombetti with the shot, scoring his first goal of the season and the first allowed by Nova Southeastern in four games this year.
The Sharks (3-1) held a 14-0 edge in shots during the first half, though many were taken from well outside the box. Even so, goalkeepers Brent Theriault and Guzman, who came on in the 12th minute, had to combine for five saves in the period. The Sharks threatened very early too when left back Nicola Brivio broke free on a run down the left flank that brought Theriault out of the net. Niklas Davidsson was also involved in the play for Florida Southern (1-3-1) and may have disrupted things long enough for Theriault to close the gap and make the save right off Brivio’s foot.
Theriault would leave the game shortly thereafter, but Guzman kept the game scoreless by making four saves of his own before halftime. The most dangerous came from Guido Riffeser in the 26th minute after he spun a defender around at the top of the box and found room to shoot on goal from the 18-yard line. David Robles had another good look in the 39th minute, as the reserve midfielder curled a shot toward the upper right corner before it was stopped by Guzman.
“Andres had to make some big saves tonight and he had three that were top-notch,” said Seyfarth. “It was a nice double effort for the shutout between him and Brent.”
Davidsson and Holmes were also active in the back for the Moccasins, with both defenders making stops inside the box in the 31st minute, and Holmes blocked another shot in the 38th. All of it was enough to keep Florida Southern in the game, even without a shot of its own in the first 45 minutes.
Nova continued to take its shots in the second half, but Guzman completed the shutout with three more saves to finish the game with seven. The Sharks had some other near-misses too, including one that hit the post, and Guzman’s stop on a corner kick header at point blank range in the 89th minute essentially clinched the win.
Not to be forgotten was Clay Clingerman, who broke up a dangerous pass inside the box in the 76th minute and blocked a shot in the same area in the 87th.
Overall, the Sharks out-shot the Moccasins 25-5, but Howard’s only shot of the game was really the only one that counted.
“We knew we’d have a big challenge tonight, but we started the season playing a lot of good teams so I felt like we were prepared,” said Seyfarth. “Joe DePalo’s teams are always well-organized, and it felt like we were playing the Italian national team tonight. I told the boys we’d played well against the other teams we’d faced but now we have to get the result. We can defend against anyone, we just needed to take advantage of the scoring chances when we got them. Tonight we did that.”
Wednesday night’s game against Nova Southeastern was a non-conference game in the Sunshine State Conference’s new plus-four schedule format. The two teams will meet again for their conference match in Lakeland on September 26.
“It will be nice to have a week off before our next match,” said Seyfarth. “Now we have to get ready for another big game against Rollins.”
That game against the Tars, which is also a non-conference match, kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 19.