The Hatters (1-0-1) held hearty advantages in shots (24 to 7) and corner kicks (7 to 1) for the game, but it wasn’t until the strike by Jones in the 99th minute that Stetson was able to put the Trojans (1-1-0) away.
Senior Amber Grose, who assisted on both goals on Sunday, teamed with sophomore Mara Keomanivane to double a Troy defender and win the ball in their offensive end. Grose came out with it and slotted a perfect ball through the Trojan defense to find Jones 1v1 with the keeper.
“Amber [Grose] was able to pop it over the defender’s foot,” Jones said of how the play developed. “I was able to keep my space from the defender, beat her, and I knew I had time so I just placed it.”
“What a great, composed finish by KJ,” Stetson head coach Manoj Khettry said after the game.
Khettry, who earned his first win at Stetson on Sunday, couldn’t have been happier for his team and players to pick up this win.
“I’m really happy for them,” Khettry said. “It’s been a process, establishing a certain mentality and a culture. We’re learning how to work hard. We’re learning how to push past pain and adversity, and now we have to learn how to win. I was really proud that they stuck to it, found a way to get a good goal, and to win.”
The Hatters scored their first goal of the season in the 17th minute on one of their seven corner kicks in the contest. Grose took the kick, and put it right where junior Carmen Bernecker could get her head on the ball. The lengthy midfielder was able to put it away square to Stetson an early 1-0 advantage.
Troy evened the score at 1-1 with just six minutes remaining in the first half when Maddie Tieken scored off of a Samantha Morgan assist. It was one of very few mistakes by the Hatter defense on Sunday afternoon and the weekend overall.
“They’ve been fantastic as center backs,” Khettry said of senior Virginia Davis and sophomore Makeshia Lucien. “Those two are doing such a good job leading our back four. They’ve been the ones who have held the back four together, along with Vic[toria Troccoli] in goal. They’re doing great. They’re getting more and more comfortable with each other. I think they’re going to be fantastic through the course of the year.”
Troccoli only needed to make one save in goal, as the Stetson defense only gave up seven shots, and only two that came on target. Troy’s Caitlin Buono made eight stops in the game, facing 24 Stetson shots, and 10 shots on goal.
Senior Alyssa Welsh was responsible for getting a number of the Hatter opportunities going, recording 10 shots in the match. She forced Buono to make four saves herself, and was solid once again at keeping possession up top while her midfielders ran off of her.
Stetson, now 1-0-1 on the season, will continue its three-game home-stand to start the season on Friday, Aug. 30. The Hatters host Florida International at approximately 7:30 p.m. at the Athletic Training Center. The women will play following the men’s game at 5:00 p.m.
Notes: Kait Jones’ goal was the fifth of her career. Carmen Bernecker’s was the first of her career. Amber Grose now has four assists in her two years at Stetson, matching her team-leading total of two from 2012 on Sunday.