AUBURNDALE, FL – For the second time in the last five nights, Florida Southern came from behind for a 2-1 win, but this time it didn't take overtime. Chloe Hamm and Anna Griessler each scored goals in the first half after Valdosta State had scored first, and a big defensive effort by center back Gaelyn Crowder helped the Moccasins pull out the win in their first home game of 2017.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Moccasins (3-1-1) had the early scoring chances ahead of the Blazers (5-3), but still found themselves down 1-0 after a 12th minute goal by Riley Tennant. It came on the Blazers' second shot of the game on a ball played down the middle by Ava Scott-Moncrief.
- Florida Southern tied the score 1-1 in the 20th minute when Alexa Moberley's pass out of the right corner found Hamm in the middle of the field, setting up the freshman for the first goal of her college career.
- Griessler then put the Moccasins ahead in the 34th minute by striking a loose ball from outside the box for her first goal of the 2017 season and ninth of her career. The junior from Indian Harbour Beach, Florida led the Mocs in scoring each of her first two seasons.
- After Florida Southern took a 2-1 lead at halftime and was up 6-3 in shots, Valdosta State turned things around somewhat in the second half, but was still unable to penetrate the Moccasin defense. The Blazers out-shot the Mocs 11-6 over the final 45 minutes, and though many of them were strong efforts, the majority also came from outside the penalty area.
- One of the most dangerous moments for Florida Southern came just two minutes into the second half when Taylor Snell hit a shot from distance that appeared headed into the upper right corner. Goalkeeper Paige Koetter, who had come on at halftime in relief of Helena Norrstrom, went high to tip it over the bar, however, and the following corner kick went for naught.
- Another corner kick in the 57th minute resulted in a re-directed header by Phoebe Palmer that carried wide, and Koetter was called into action again in the 60th and 64th minutes.
- Crowder's night included three big stops in the first 10 minutes of the game, shutting down a couple of runs by Tennant and blocking a shot by Hailie Patterson. She later blocked another shot by Tennant in the 65th minute.
- The Mocs were still clinging to their one-goal lead in the final minutes when the Blazers made several more dangerous forays into the attacking third. Crowder stopped one of those with roughly four minutes remaining, and her clearance with less than a minute on the clock gave the Mocs a chance to collect themselves without allowing another VSU scoring chance.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Valdosta State out-shot Florida Southern 14-12, but the Moccasins still played their eighth consecutive game allowing one goal or less. That's their longest such streak since going nine in a row during the 2011 season, a stretch in which they posted a 7-1-1 record.
- The Mocs again started a back line of Crowder, Juliana Guida, Jess Goedde and Megan Styron, but they also got outstanding play from Caitlin Quaempts in a reserve role as she played the final 26 minutes to help Florida Southern close out the win.
- The Moccasins not only got a goal from another reserve in Griessler, they got three shots from Delaney Riggins, who played 37 minutes off the bench. Riggins tested Valdosta State goalkeeper Caroline Embler on two occasions in the second half and put another attempt just high.
- Norrstrom and Koetter split the game with each playing one half. Norrstrom made one save in the first 45 minutes, and Koetter made three in the final 45. Koetter has two scoreless halves this season and extended her scoreless minutes streak to 247:41. She's already set a school record for scoreless minutes to start a career and needs 26 more to move into the top five all-time in team history.
- Wednesday night was only the second time Florida Southern and Valdosta State ever faced each other. The first was a 1-0 win by the Blazers in Valdosta in the 2013 season opener.
- Last season, due to more issues with weather in the state of Florida, the Moccasins were the last of 264 Division II teams to play a home game. This year, again because of problems associated with weather, the Mocs were next to last. Only Shaw University, a Division II independent in North Carolina scheduled to play only one home game all season, has yet to play on its home field.
Florida Southern returns to Sunshine State Conference play on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the University of Tampa.