MELBOURNE – Hugh Seyfarth and the Florida Southern Moccasins have added another one to the list. For the fifth time in the last three years, the Mocs upset a nationally ranked team from the Sunshine State Conference when Ricky Marton scored his first goal of the season and Brent Theriault came up with five second-half saves for a 1-0 win over Florida Tech. It was the Panthers’ first loss of 2012.
Marton’s goal came in the 61st minute thanks to some nice passing by Mitchell Francois and Niklas Davidsson. With Francois nearly pinned against the sideline deep in Florida Tech territory, the sophomore midfielder was able to back-heel the ball to Davidsson who ran behind him into the left corner. Davidsson then sent a cross into the middle of the box that ended up at the feet of Marton, who powered home the shot. It was one of only five taken by Florida Southern in the game.
From that point on Florida Southern (2-6-1, 1-1) relied on Theriault and the rest of the defense to keep Florida Tech (5-1-3, 2-1-2) off the scoreboard. The sophomore goalkeeper made four of his five saves after the Mocs had taken the lead. One of those came on a free kick in the 84th minute by Gary Ogilvie that skimmed off the head of a Moccasin defender, and another came on a header by Robbie Russell in front of the net in the 86th.
The Mocs also dodged a bullet with a minute to play when Russell’s cross into the box set up Ogilvie for a shot, but the Panther midfielder sent it high. It was the last shot taken by the Panthers.
“I’m obviously pleased with the result, but on the balance of things, I think the soccer gods said we’d been getting the wrong end of some stuff lately and it was time to even things up a bit,” said Seyfarth. “We got a huge effort though, and great leadership from our captains, Ashley Holmes and Luke Jenner. We also got some great games today from Clay Clingerman, Carlos Rodriguez and Mitchell Francois.”
The first half saw only a handful of scoring chances, with really only one serious threat per side. The Moccasins got theirs in the 17th minute on their first shot of the game. The play started with a punt by Theriault, and continued with Rodriguez flicking the ball on for Patrick Abrahamsson. The junior midfielder took the ball into the box for a shot that Florida Tech goalkeeper Brentton Muhammad was barely able to stop when he came off his line.
Though Florida Tech did not have a shot on target in the first half, the Panthers nearly scored in the 38th minute off a corner kick. Using his head to re-direct a corner kick from Antoine Aupiais, the shot by Will Henderson ended up being kicked by a Moccasin defender in the middle in the direction of the net. Fortunately for the Moccasins, the hard-hit ball was right at Theriault who smothered it.
After combining for only seven shots in the first half (five by Florida Tech and two by Florida Southern), the game opened up a bit in the second. Abrahamsson forced Muhammad into another tough save in the 57th minute, and Henderson had a good look at the goal in the 58th but was denied by Theriault who dove to his left to knock it out of bounds. The Mocs used that defensive play to spark the offense at the other end and scored two minutes later.
Florida Southern has now beaten Rollins (twice), Barry, Lynn and Florida Tech when all were top-25 teams in the last three years. The win over Florida Tech was the fourth among that group that came on the road. It was also the Mocs’ first shutout of the Panthers since a 3-0 win in 2002, and it continued a run of recent success in Melbourne where Florida Southern is 5-1-1 since 2000.
“We’ve told the boys that our season is not our record, it’s what we do in the Sunshine State Conference,” said Seyfarth. “We’ve set out our goals and with this win today, we’re on that path.”
Florida Southern will be at home for its next game, hosting Saint Leo on Wednesday night at 7:30.