The Stetson men's soccer team (1-3-0) enjoyed a nice homecoming after starting the season with three difficult road matches. The Hatters defeated Atlantic Sun Conference foe Jacksonville (0-5-0) by a score of 2-0 in their first home tilt of the season, and the first for the men's soccer program at the brand new Stetson Athletics Training Center.
Stetson controlled the match from whistle to whistle, as it seemed the Hatters couldn't wait to show the home crowd what it had in store for the 2012 campaign. The team controlled the possession, and kept the ball in Jacksonville territory for the majority of the first frame.
Unlike in its first three contests, when the Hatters failed to put one in the back of the net, Stetson got on the board fairly early on Friday night, scoring in the 20th minute of play. In one of many aggressive attacks by the Hatters early on, three Stetson players made attempts at goal before senior Kai Eckenrode finally put it away.
Junior Evan Jimmo made the first shot attempt, but it was deflected. Senior Joakim Helland's attempt was blocked yet again, but this time it rebounded out far enough that Eckenrode was able to get a foot on it, and slide it past Jacksonville goalkeeper Gavin Carlin.
The Hatters' 8-2 shot advantage in the first frame was only evened out by the Dolphins' three corner kick opportunities. Stetson failed to record a single corner in the half, but remained on top 1-0 heading into the break.
After a couple of early chances for the Dolphins to start the second half, Stetson took control again, finishing with a total of 15 shots in the game, to Jacksonville's six. One of the Hatters's seven second half opportunities gave them a healthy 2-0 advantage, as Stetson found the back of the net yet again.
Speedy senior Jonathan Mendoza received a pass and carried it towards the Jacksonville end line. He played a perfect pass to junior Stevie Saballos, who then fed senior Luis Ocejo for a one-touch shot straight past Carlin. The goal, which came less than five minutes into the second half, gave Stetson a lead it held onto tightly for the rest of the contest.
Continuing to keep possession for the final 40 minutes, Stetson kept the pressure on as much as it could without playing too aggressively. The final result was a 2-0 victory, improving the Hatters to 1-3-0 on the season.
The shutout was the first for Stetson since October 28 of 2011, when the Hatters defeated North Florida 2-0. It marked the 11 career shutout for junior Andreas Schnabl, who came up with three big saves in the win. His 11th in less than three seasons in DeLand tied him with Ed Funcheon for the most in a career at Stetson.
Stetson will now take a weekend off from competition, and return to the pitch on Saturday, September 22. The Hatters will host Florida International at 6:00 p.m. at the Athletics Training Center.
Coach Fleck Interview
Kai Eckenrode Interview
Luis Ocejo Interview