LAKELAND – Three Sunshine State Conference men's soccer teams went into Wednesday night with a 4-0 mark in league play, and all three of them went down to defeat. One of them was the 8th-ranked Florida Southern Moccasins, who dropped a 4-0 decision to No. 24 Florida Tech to ended their school-record nine-game winning streak with their first loss of the season.
The Moccasins are now 9-1 overall, but even with the loss, they remain tied for first place halfway through the SSC schedule after No. 2 Palm Beach Atlantic also suffered its first loss of the season to Lynn, and No. 18 Nova Southeastern fell to Barry. That combination of results left Florida Southern, PBA, Nova Southeastern and Lynn all tied with 4-1 records in conference play, and Barry just behind them at 3-1-1. Florida Tech isn't far off the mark either, with the Panthers now 7-2 overall and 3-2 in the Sunshine State Conference.
With teams awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw, that puts six teams within three points of first.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Florida Tech broke out of the gate with two shots and two corner kicks in the first two minutes, but Benny Yusufoglu saved both of them without issue. The Mocs' first scoring chance came not long after when Pablo Gallo Arias had one blocked by the head of defender Mikkel Roeisland.
- The two sides traded a handful of shots over the next several minutes before Florida Tech scored the first goal of the night in the 30th minute. It came from Morgan Gauthier, who worked his way forward after receiving a long throw-in and found room to shoot from outside the box for his first goal of the season, and the first allowed by the Moccasins in five home games.
- The Panthers scored again in the 34th minute off a set piece as Roeisland slipped in behind the Florida Southern defense to put home a free kick by Craig McCall.
- The Moccasins had the better of it in the early stages of the second half with a pair of shots by Christoph Gums and one by Eneko Lasheras. Gums had one of his off a free kick that was blocked by the Florida Tech wall, and another was blocked by a sliding Roeisland inside the box.
- Florida Tech did not have a strong scoring chance in the second half until the 64th minute, but that was stopped by Yusufoglu, who kept it a 2-0 game after Abram Murphy intercepted a pass and went straight to goal. The Mocs countered soon after, with Foster Appiah forcing Aymerick Berald-Catelo into a save from 30 yards out. In the 79th minute, the Mocs were even closer to cutting into the deficit, but Berald-Catelo went to the ground to push a shot by Arias inches wide of the left post.
- The Panthers were able to put the game away shortly thereafter, scoring two goals 60 seconds apart in the 80th and 81st minutes. A give-and-go between Hugo Lopez and Guillermo Segovia Marcos resulted in Lopez knocking one in off the far post for his first goal of the season, and Marcos finished scoring moments later after taking a long pass from Paris Junior Roserie.
- Florida Southern finished with a 15-13 advantage in shots taken, the most allowed by Florida Tech this season. Arias led Florida Southern with three of those shots, while Appiah, Gums and Ian McIntosh all had two. The Panthers had been allowing just 6.8 per game. Berald-Catelo had two saves for the Panthers and Yusufoglu had four for the Moccasins.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern's 9-game winning streak tied the longest in team history and was the longest within a single season. The longest unbeaten streak, which includes draws, remains 10, set during the 1967-68 seasons (7-0-3) and the 1996-97 seasons (9-0-1).
- With Palm Beach Atlantic losing earlier in the night, Florida Southern was the final unbeaten team in the Sunshine State Conference this year. Those were two of the four remaining unbeaten, untied Division II teams in the country prior to Wednesday. That leaves Simon Fraser (BC) and Young Harris (GA) as the only teams left without a loss or a tie.
- Including teams that had ties on their record, there were 10 undefeated teams in the country, and five of them were in action Wednesday. Only one of them, Young Harris, came away with a win. Florida Southern, Palm Beach Atlantic, and Wilmington (DE) all suffered their first loss, and Cal-San Diego added another tie to its record.
- The Moccasins had not trailed in a game this season and had given up only two goals through the first nine games. Their current record of 9-1 is still the best in team history for the first 10 games of a season.
Florida Southern will host another nationally ranked team on Saturday as the Moccasins take on No. 18 Nova Southeastern at 7 p.m.