After cancellations on Thursday and Saturday, the Stetson men’s soccer team finally got its final exhibition match of 2013 in on Sunday night. The Hatters tied Florida Tech by a score of 1-1 at the Athletic Training Center in their final outing before the season opener on Aug. 30.
“It’s good to see a bunch of new guys get to actually play together,” Stetson head coach T. Logan Fleck said. “We still had a bunch of new people in new positions, but I was very happy with the defense. Andreas [Schnabl] in goal and the back four are starting to solidify themselves.”
Stetson got on the board first on Sunday. Senior Raffaele Centofanti received a ball down the left side, took it to the endline, and crossed it right in front of the goal. A sprinting Gianluca Carbone timed it perfectly to one-time it past the Panther goalkeeper and give Stetson a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute of play.
“It was a beautiful ball by Rafa, served in behind the back, and Gianluca came across with great composure,” Fleck said. “The young freshman, with all his energy, went in and got his first goal. So that’s great.”
Despite solid play out of the back for the Hatters, Florida Tech was able to tie the game up at 1-1 in the second half. Joe Barber played a long ball into the box, which was when Drake Hillman controlled it, and finished it off to even the score in the 60th minute.
Stetson nearly took the lead again with just 18 minutes to play when senior Steven Saballos threaded a ball through the defense to a streaking Ross Morison. The tall freshman, composed himself and laid the ball off to senior JJ Bostic. After taking a touch, Bostic just missed putting the Hatters on top, forcing Mitch Thorn to make a save.
It was the Panthers who had a chance to take the late advantage just over four minutes later. A foul in the box gave Florida Tech a penalty attempt with 13:20 to play in the second half. Having just entered into the game about a minute earlier, freshman Paul Ladwig made a tremendous save to stop Barber’s penalty, and kept the game tied.
That’s how the game would end, as the two teams decided not to play overtime in the exhibition match. Stetson will begin regular season action on Friday, Aug. 30. The Hatters host UMass-Lowell at 5:00 p.m. at the Athletic Training Center.