The Stetson men’s soccer team gave up two goals early in the second half and never recovered as La Salle (3-3-2) topped the Hatters (1-5-2) by a score of 3-1 on Saturday night at the Athletic Training Center.
“It’s a disappointing loss,” Stetson head coach T. Logan Fleck said. “I take nothing away from La Salle, they’re a good team, but I think we gave away some of those goals. Again, mistakes made by us, and two mistakes made very quickly in the second half. That’s where we should be pushing on, and putting more effort into it. Instead it seemed like we laid back a little bit.”
One of the two mistakes allowed La Salle to score just 19 seconds into the second half, giving the Explorers an advantage it wouldn’t relinquish. Glenroy Chapman received a ball through the defense from Joe Farrell, and beat goalkeeper Andreas Schnabl to make it 1-0 La Salle.
The second Explorer goal came just over four minutes later when a similar play saw Farrell finding Andrew Connors behind the Stetson back four. Connors found himself one-v-one with Schnabl and put it past the Hatter goalkeeper’s outstretched arms, making it 2-0 instantly.
Stetson never gave up. Instead, it was then that the Hatter began creating chances. Stetson finished with 16 shots to La Salle’s eight, recording 13 in the final 45 minutes alone. The Hatters also recorded six corner kicks to just four for the Explorers.
After giving up a third La Salle goal in the 74th minute, this time David Keen assisting on a Giancarlo Granese goal, Stetson had multiple quality chances in a row late in the game.
With under 12 to play senior Steven Saballos played a ball up to senior Evan Jimmo, who clicked the ball behind him to a streaking Justin Shirah. The outside midfielder sprinted towards the ball as it rolled towards the goal, but a La Salle defender slid in to stop it at the last second.
A few minutes later senior Chase Rodgers carried a ball up the left side, and worked a cross into the box where senior JJ Bostic and freshman Alex Haddad each had a couple of chances to put it away. Unfortunately, neither was able to get a clean look at the goal.
Finally, in the 88th minute, a long cross from Jimmo found senior Raffaele Centofanti at the other end of the box. Centofanti controlled the ball, slid it past a La Salle defender and buried it in the back of the net to make the final score 3-1.
“The problem is that we waited until they got two goals in the back of the net before we started doing some very good off the ball running,” Fleck said. “That should have happened right from the get-go. You need to play with that kind of urgency when you come out in the second half.”
Saturday night marked Stetson’s final game before starting Atlantic Sun Conference play. The Hatters will host Northern Kentucky on Friday, October 4 at 7:00 p.m. to kick things off.