Pretty Much Perfect: FSC Allows Just One Shot in 1-0 Win at Eckerd
ST. PETERSBURG – With their backs against the wall, the Florida Southern Moccasins took a big step forward and got a much-needed win in their effort to stay alive in the NCAA playoff race. Sarah Goolsby gave Florida Southern the only goal it needed and the Moccasin defense was nearly perfect while allowing just one shot as the Mocs defeated Eckerd 1-0 Wednesday night.
Wednesday night’s game took on added importance after the release of the NCAA regional rankings earlier in the day. With their record dipping under the .500 mark last week, the Moccasins dropped out after being previously ranked #6. With six teams going to the NCAA South Region Tournament, the Mocs needed a win against the Tritons to again put themselves in position for a possible at-large bid. The Mocs could still earn an automatic bid by winning next week’s Sunshine State Conference Tournament, but having a second path to regionals is a bonus.
The first half saw the Moccasins (6-6-3) dominate possession and out-shoot the Tritons 7-1. Whether it was Danielle Hancock or Jackie Metz running the field from their midfield positions or Kara Moore playing the ball a little bit longer, the Mocs kept the Tritons under fairly steady pressure. Even so, the only goal was scored by Goolsby in the 18th minute, with the freshman forward putting one into the upper right corner from the top of the box for her third goal of the season.
That goal was enough for the win too. Even without two of their regular starters in the back, the Mocs never came close to giving up a goal. The foursome of Morgan Sammons, Brooke Williams, Christine Knudstrup and Auburn Cherry gave up just one shot in the match, equaling the second fewest the Mocs have ever allowed. They allowed none in a 6-0 win over Eckerd in 2008, and surrendered only one in a 4-0 victory over Clearwater Christian in 2005.
While Eckerd (9-6-2) generally held its own, the Mocs nearly scored again in the 39th minute. Sydney Montgomery gave Florida Southern that opportunity by winning a bouncing ball in the left corner of the box, and though an Eckerd defender was also in the area, goalkeeper Morgan Crescent nearly made a fatal mistake by coming out of the goal to make a play as well. After Montgomery got the ball under control she was able to send a pass back toward the middle of the field where Erin Phillips came streaking in to hit a running shot on goal. Crescent got back just ahead of it though and made the save.
Eckerd’s only shot of the game came in the 40th minute when Christina Rosetti found a rare opening in the Florida Southern back line and got the ball to Abbey Walter on the left side. Though Walter was able to beat the Moccasin defense for the shot, it was right at Erin Moseley.
Florida Southern’s defense got even tighter in the second half, but so did Eckerd’s. Officially, neither team was credited with a shot until the 77th minute when Hancock worked out of the trouble in the left corner and hit Montgomery with a crossing pass in the center of the box.
Eckerd had even fewer second-half scoring chances than Florida Southern, but missed one with Moseley out of the net in the 82nd minute. The Moccasin goalkeeper was forced to come a long way out to clear a loose ball and got tangled up with an Eckerd player in the process. As the Tritons scrambled to control the ball, Moore disrupted things long enough to prevent them from taking a shot and giving Moseley a chance to get back in position in case there was.
Moore was also instrumental on defense at the very end of the game. Three times in the final minute, Moore either cleared the ball out of play or sent it so high in the air the Tritons could only watch as the seconds ticked away from them.
That allowed the Mocs to preserve the win and record their fifth shutout of the season. It was also the seventh time they gave up less than 10 shots and the third time they gave up less than five. All five shutouts belong to Moseley in goal as she lowered her goals against average to 0.96.
Florida Southern wraps up the regular season Saturday night at Rollins, the 15th-ranked team in the country and the #2 team in the South Region. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.