The Stetson men’s soccer team handed Florida Gulf Coast its first loss in Atlantic Sun Conference play this season, as the Hatters defeated the Eagles by a score of 2-1 on Senior Night at the Athletic Training Center.
With the win Stetson improves to 3-8-3 overall and 2-3-1 in A-Sun play after topping Mercer and FGCU in back-to-back matches. The Hatters are now all alone in fifth place in the conference standings, but currently hold the fourth spot among teams eligible for the tournament since Northern Kentucky is tied for first.
“They absolutely played a fantastic game tonight,” Stetson head coach T. Logan Fleck said of his team. “We worked very hard. It was a great senior night, and all of the seniors participated in this win. It was a hard fought match.”
Senior JJ Bostic played the hero on Senior Night, scoring the game-winning goal with just over eight minutes to play in the contest. Senior Raffaele Centofanti played a perfect ball on a set piece from the sideline that found the head of Bostic, who put it home with authority to give the Hatters the late lead.
It was almost karmic that Bostic finally put home the game-winner in the 82nd minute after two near misses earlier in the game. The central defender had a goal in the first half taken back due to offsides, and then with 14:30 to play in the second, he one-timed a volley from the six yard box that skimmed off the post and out of play.
Bostic’s second goal of the season came at an opportunistic moment as the Hatters now ride a two-game winning streak heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
Stetson opened the scoring in the first half when Centofanti played a ball into the box to junior Dwight Lodge in the 13th minute. Lodge’s header hit off the post, but the speedy midfielder got his own rebound and finished into the back of the net to give the Hatters the early lead over the top ranked team in the league.
Florida Gulf Coast tied the match at 1-1 in the 39th minute when Xavier Silva scored off of assists from Will Suedois and Skylar Wilks.
Up just one score with an Eagle team on the attack, senior goalkeeper Andreas Schnabl came up with one huge save that allowed Stetson to come away victorious. FGCU set up to take a corner kick, one of three in a span of 45 seconds late in the game, got the ball into the box, and found the head of an Eagle perfectly set up for a score. Schnabl came out of nowhere to get a hand on the ball just below the cross bar and send it over the top and out of bounds.
Stetson held on in the final two minutes and 35 seconds and earned the hard fought 2-1 victory. The Hatters were outshot 12-6, and gave up nine corners while recording just three. Schnabl finished the night with four saves. Danny George made one for the Eagles in the loss.
Stetson will finish the A-Sun regular season on the road against North Florida and Jacksonville.