The Stetson men's soccer team remained undefeated in preseason play, defeating Florida Southern at home by a score of 3-1 on Friday evening. Senior Jonathan Mendoza scored two goals and assisted on another to lead the Hatters in their first match at the newly renovated Stetson Soccer Complex.
Stetson had a number of chances going forward in the first half, but it was Florida Southern who took advantage early. The Mocs went up 1-0 in the 20th minute of action when a ball down the left side was played into the box and the Florida Southern forward put it in the back of the net.
It took just about another 20 minutes before the Hatters could even the score, making it 1-1 in the 39th minute of play. Mendoza received a ball about 35 yards from the goal, took one touch forward and beat the Mocs' goalkeeper to the lower left corner of the net.
Fitness became an issue for both squads in the second half, but the experienced Stetson squad was able to take advantage of the situation. Within a span of a couple of minutes about 15 minutes into the second frame, the Hatters scored a pair of nearly identical goals to put the game away at 3-1.
The first opportunity began with a long through ball from senior Luis Ocejo out of the back. His pass found Mendoza sprinting past the Florida Southern defense. Gaining the attention of the Mocs' goalkeeper, the speedy midfielder played the ball back to senior Kai Eckenrode, who finished it easily in the back of the net.
Things felt eerily similar two minutes later when Ocejo played another long ball up the left side to a streaking Mendoza behind the defense. This time the Atlantic Sun Conference Preseason Player of the Year finished it off himself, beating the keeper to the right and finishing it in the side netting.
"There were a couple of good goals," Head Coach T. Logan Fleck said following the match. "There was some good combination passing through the midfield, but we still need to work on our ability to both defend and attack as a unit."
"We wanted to move the ball a little quicker," Ocejo said of the team's play. "Now we know what we need to work on to get ready for Penn State." When asked who stood out on the team tonight, Ocejo responded with, "Jonny [Mendoza]. He had two goals, one assist, and he kept the ball moving."
Stetson will kickoff regular season action at 2011 Big Ten runner-up Penn State Saturday, August 25. The Hatters will play three games on the road, before returning for the home-opener against Jacksonville on September 7.Coach Fleck Interview
Luis Ocejo Interview