Florida Southern begins the 2012 postseason Tuesday night when it hosts Lynn University in the first round of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Barnett Field with the winner advancing to the SSC Tournament semifinals on Friday at Rollins.
There is still one regular season game remaining on the conference schedule (Florida Southern at Rollins on Saturday), but it will have no bearing on seeding for the tournament. The Moccasins are locked into the third spot and Rollins has already clinched the SSC regular season title, giving the Tars the #1 seed.
Florida Southern (6-6-3 overall) earned the #3 seed in the tournament by finishing third in the SSC regular season standings. The Moccasins are 3-2-2 in league play with their game at Rollins still remaining. Even if they finish tied with Nova Southeastern, which finished 3-3-2 in the conference, the Mocs won the tie-breaker by beating the Sharks head-to-head, moving Nova down to the #4 seed. Lynn (4-8-2 overall) was part of a 3-way tie in the standings with Eckerd and Barry, with each team finishing 3-4-1 in the SSC. Eckerd won that tie-breaker by defeating both Lynn and Barry, giving the Tritons the #5 seed, while Barry lost to both of those teams, knocking the Buccaneers out of the SSC Tournament altogether. That left Lynn seeded #6, giving the Knights a first-round match against the Moccasins.
Ticket prices for Tuesday night’s match are $8.00 for adults, $5.00 for youth (age 13-college), and $5.00 for seniors. Children 12 and under are admitted free, and students from SSC member schools are also admitted free with a proper institutional ID. The same ticket prices will be in effect at all facilities throughout the tournament regardless of the number of matches being hosted on a particular day.
The first-round game between Florida Southern and Lynn will be the their third meeting of the season. The Moccasins won a non-conference match in Lakeland 3-0 on September 22, and the teams played to a 1-1 draw in their conference match in Boca Raton on October 6. In the first game, freshman Caroline Evers scored two first-half goals to give FSC the lead, and freshman Sarah Goolsby finished the scoring early in the second half. The Mocs allowed only four shots in the match. Two weeks later, the teams combined for 46 shots in a double overtime game that saw Evers score again and sophomore Erin Moseley make a career-high nine saves.
In addition to the Lynn-Florida Southern match on Tuesday, Nova Southeastern (4-7-3, 3-3-2) will host Eckerd (9-6-2, 3-4-1) in the other first-round match, which will also be played at 7:00. Rollins (10-4-1, 6-1) and Tampa (12-3-3, 5-1-2) received first-round byes after finishing first and second respectively. The winner of the Lynn-Florida Southern match will play 2nd-seeded Tampa on Friday in Winter Park at 4:30 p.m., with the winner of the Eckerd-Nova match facing Rollins at 7:00 p.m.
The SSC Championship Game will be played on Sunday, November 4 at 1:00 p.m. The winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament, which begins on Friday, November 9. The winner of the Gulf South Conference Tournament also receives an automatic bid, and four other slots will be filled by at-large selections when pairings are announced Monday night, November 5.
Florida Southern has qualified for the SSC Tournament four of the last five years, and hosted first-round games in 2009 and 2010 as the #3 seed. The Moccasins won each of them, defeating Lynn 3-2 in 2009 on a goal by Emily Griffith three minutes into the second overtime; and Saint Leo 2-1 in 2010 when Princess Haley scored twice in the second half to erase a 1-0 halftime deficit.
The Moccasins have advanced to the championship game twice, most recently in 2009 when they lost to Rollins, 1-0. In 2008, Florida Southern and Saint Leo played to a 1-1 tie in the championship game before the Lions won the title in penalty kicks. Both of those games were played at Rollins, which is hosting the semifinals and championship game for the third time in the last five years.
Tampa has won the last two SSC Tournament titles as the #4 seed in each season.