The Stetson men’s soccer team opened the 2013 season in fine fashion, defeating UMass Lowell 1-0 in overtime on Friday evening. Senior Evan Jimmo scored the game-winner just over one minute into extra time to give the Hatters the victory.
After a two-hour weather delay midway through the second half, and two hard fought, scoreless halves, Jimmo ended the game with a golden goal quickly after overtime began. Senior Raffaele Centofanti was able to get a foot on a poorly cleared ball by the River Hawks, and got it to Jimmo.
“It was just a scrappy goal altogether,” Jimmo said. “There were bad clearances by their team, and finally the ball got down to Raffaele [Centofanti]. He played it square to me, and I saw the defender was flat footed, so I pushed it by him and finished it with my left foot.”
UMass Lowell came out aggressive, controlling much of the possession of the first half. The Hatters, made up of 14 newcomers, took a while to get their rhythm. As the game went on, it was easy to see that Stetson began to play the way the team wanted to.
“It’s always good when you put a lot of effort in, and then you get rewarded for it,” Head Coach T. Logan Fleck said. “We were a little nervous, a little hyped up, and it was good to see how we systematically kept working. We started to get a rhythm.”
That rhythm led to 14 shots to only nine for the River Hawks. The Hatters forced UML goalkeeper Chris Maierle to make four saves in the loss.
Stetson goalkeeper Andreas Schnabl, meanwhile, made just one save, but made a number of other plays for the Hatters, and led the back line to a great defensive performance. His 13th career shutout just added to his already school record.
Additionally, junior Dwight Lodge, who finished the night with three shots, two of which came on target, was impressive up the left wing all night long. Whether it was connecting with his teammates, or beating defenders one v. one, he put the River Hawks on their heels all night.
The Hatters will continue the 2013 season on Monday, playing at USF at 7:30 p.m. in Tampa.