The Stetson men’s soccer team earned its first win in Atlantic Sun Conference play on Sunday, defeating Mercer by a score of 1-0 at the Athletic Training Center.
With the victory the Hatters (2-8-3, 1-3-1) kept themselves in the hunt for a spot in the A-Sun Tournament. Stetson now has four points in conference play, putting the Hatters in a three-way tie for the fifth spot in the tournament with just three matches left on the schedule.
Mercer (3-11-1, 1-3-1) is in the tie with Stetson after falling prey to senior Andreas Schnabl’s 15th career shutout. The captain made eight saves on the day, tying a career best in his third shutout of the season.
“It’s been a rough start to the A-Sun with only one point in four games, so it was time to collect some points,” Schnabl said. “Overall, it was a great effort by the whole team defensively. We definitely deserved that win.”
Holding nothing back, Stetson came out attacking on Sunday. The Hatters outshot Mercer 9-6 in the first half, and took advantage of their opportunities just over 13 minutes into the match.
Senior Chase Rodgers fed a ball out to senior Evan Jimmo up the right side. Jimmo was able to find a path and fired a shot towards the goal. His attempt was saved by Mercer goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh, but it rebounded out into the box. That’s where Rodgers came in and one-timed the rebound into the back of the net to give Stetson the early lead.
“I thought we started the game off strong,” Rodgers said. “I got to play in the midfield a little bit. We had some good combinations early on and really put some on goal.”
“In the first half we defended really well,” Schnabl added. “We kept the line high so they didn’t get that much in our half. Unfortunately, in the second half, we dropped deeper and deeper, and that’s how they got possession more and more in our half.”
The Bears came out on the offensive in the second half, recording 12 shots to Stetson’s five in the final 45 minutes of play. Schnabl came up with five saves in the second half alone, and the Hatter back line continued to keep Mercer at bay.
Stetson held on for the 1-0 victory, the Hatters’ second win of the season.
“I thought this was the first full 90 minutes that we played,” Rodgers added. “It was a great effort from everybody. We were able to get the goal and hold them to a shutout so it was a good effort all around.”
Stetson will continue the home-stand next weekend with the team’s final regular season game in DeLand this season. The Hatters host Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Athletic Training Center.