LAKELAND, FLA. – Playing their sixth nationally ranked opponent this year, Florida Southern wrapped up the regular season Tuesday night with a 3-0 loss to No. 13 Barry, which will send the Moccasins (12-4, 6-4 Sunshine State Conference) into the SSC Tournament as the number six seed with a quarterfinal match at Lynn on Monday, October 29.
The Buccaneers (12-3-1, 7-2-1) scored all three of their goals in the first half, two of them on free kicks and another on an unfortunate deflection off two defenders. The result in Lakeland, combined with a tie in the Nova Southeastern-Lynn game, sent Barry from fourth in the SSC standings up to second and gave the Buccaneers a bye in the quarterfinals along with SSC regular-season champion Palm Beach Atlantic.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Moccasins dominated the opening stages of the game, taking five shots in the first 5½ minutes, and every one of them was a high-quality attempt. Julian Jordan-Canosa struck the first one from 25 yards that sent goalkeeper Marco Sordi to the ground to deflect the low line drive, and a follow-up attempt by Ian McIntosh carried just wide of the left post. The Bucs barely had time to collect themselves after that sequence when James Meehan hit another on-target shot from close range that forced Sordi into another save right in front of the same post. Two minutes after that, McIntosh had one blocked, and Sordi saved a header by Daniel Moore off a corner kick in spectacular fashion.
- Barry's first shot came from Jack Parker in the 19th minute, but it was blocked before it ever became a threat. That was not the case for Florida Southern's Pablo Gallo Arias though. Moments later, the senior midfielder received a ball that took him into the box for the Mocs' sixth shot of the night, only to have defender Lorenzo Cerrai step in front of it for the block.
- After surviving an intense Florida Southern attack in the opening minutes, it was Barry that broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute when Parker re-directed a free kick from Aday Gonzalez for his first goal of the season. Later, on a similar play in the 44th minute, Francisco Greco was on the receiving end of another Gonzalez free kick that put Barry up 3-0.
- In between those two set pieces, the Buccaneers also scored in the 35th minute. After an initial shot by Flavio Colasanti was blocked, the Mocs were unable to clear the loose ball, and Toby Fura hit another shot a few seconds later that ricocheted off not one, but two Florida Southern defenders and into the lower right corner of the net beyond the reach of goalkeeper Benny Yusufoglu.
- The Moccasins forced Sordi into three more saves in the second half, two of them coming back-to-back in the 80th minute by Eneko Lasheras and Martin Wall, but were unable to find the net. The Bucs were stopped twice by Yusufoglu in the second half and once by Samuel Winning, who entered the game with 14 minutes remaining and was immediately tested by Christian Alcala.
- Sordi made a total of seven saves in the game to record his sixth shutout of the season, while Yusufoglu and Winning combined to make three saves for Florida Southern.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Barry was the sixth different top-25 opponent the Moccasins have faced this year, and all six have come from inside the Sunshine State Conference (No. 15 Lynn, No. 14 Rollins, No. 24 Florida Tech, No. 18 Nova Southeastern, No. 3 Palm Beach Atlantic, and No. 13 Barry). With the Moccasins also ranked for much of this season, it means seven of the league's 11 schools have appeared in the United Soccer Coaches national poll for at least two weeks.
- The six different ranked opponents is a new school record for Florida Southern, and the six games against ranked teams ties a school record set in 2003 and 2012.
- Barry earned the second seed in the SSC Tournament by virtue of its head-to-head wins over Lynn and Nova Southeastern after all three teams tied for second in the standings at 7-2-1. Lynn earned the third seed by virtue of its earlier win over Palm Beach Atlantic (the top seed) since its game with Nova Southeastern on Tuesday ended in a tie.
- This will be the second year in a row Florida Southern will play at Lynn in the quarterfinals. The Moccasins defeated the Knights 2-1 in overtime earlier this season in Boca Raton.
Florida Southern will play at Lynn next Monday night in the SSC Tournament Quarterfinals in a match scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. The winner of that game will play in the semifinals on Thursday, November 1 at Barry.