LAKELAND – Two years in a row, Florida Southern knocked off a highly-ranked Rollins team that was on its way to a conference championship and a run through the NCAA Tournament. In their first shot at beating the Tars this year, the Moccasins couldn’t make it three in a row. With Rob Crowley scoring two first-half goals and assisting on one goal in the second half, 25th-ranked Rollins left Barnett Field Wednesday night with a 5-0 win over Florida Southern.
The Tars (4-2-1) out-shot the Moccasins (1-4-1) in their non-conference match by an 18-3 margin, and it was Crowley who did most of the damage. The sophomore midfielder scored in the 16th and 32nd minutes to give Rollins a 2-0 lead at halftime before picking up an assist on a Grant Blackhurst goal in the 48th minute. Later his brother Joe Crowley assisted the final goal of the night with just 21 seconds to play.
“I know the scoreline tonight is going to raise some questions, but we just made too many silly mistakes out there tonight,” said FSC coach Hugh Seyfarth. “Rollins is a good finishing team and that’s exactly what they did tonight. We gave Rob Crowley two chances there in the first half and he made us pay for it.”
Crowley’s first goal was a blast into the net from the top of the box after the Moccasins were unable to clear the ball and allowed him to step in for a wide open shot. His second goal was set up by the work of Brett Durrance and Tucker Hume, with Durrance bringing the ball inside from the right flank to open up the scoring chance his teammate eventually finished for his team-leading sixth goal of the season.
The second half was less than three minutes old when center back Walker Hume (the twin brother of Tucker Hume) sent a ball downfield for Crowley, who played it on for Blackhurst. Taking it into the box, Blackhurst connected to give the Tars a 3-0 lead.
Tucker Hume then got on the board in the 83rd minute when he headed home a cross from Jordan Cole, and Philip Shehan finished the scoring with a back post shot after Joe Crowley’s cross out of the left corner.
Rollins goalkeeper Keneil Baker, who was on the other end of a 4-1 win by the Moccasins last year, had to make only two saves in picking up the shutout this year. Clay Clingerman put one on target just before halftime, a ball from the far right wing that nearly caught Baker off-guard as it rocketed in to the near post. In the second half, Carlos Rodriguez hit a strong shot from outside the box that was saved by Baker.
The Mocs also tested Baker with six corner kicks, and a couple of dangerous crosses by Niklas Davidsson and Patrick Abrahamsson were tipped away before a shot could be taken.
Andres Guzman made five saves for Florida Southern, one of them a kick save in the second half against Blackhurst on a close-range shot inside the box.
“The lineup that finished the game tonight was a lot different than what we started with, and we’ve got some injury issues to assess before our next game on Saturday,” said Seyfarth. “That means there are guys in the locker room who need to realize this is their opportunity to step up. We played the #25 team in the country tonight and we’re playing the #1 team Saturday. This is why guys come to Florida Southern, to have the opportunity to play the absolute best teams that are out there, and there are going to be some guys now that will have the chance to show what they can do.”
Florida Southern and top-ranked Lynn, which finished as the national runner-up in 2011, will kick off at Barnett Field Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.