DeLand, Fla. - The Stetson men's soccer team tallied a pair of early goals and then took care of business and handed visiting East Tennessee State University (7-3-0, 2-1-0) its first conference loss of the season. It was the fourth consecutive shutout for the Hatters who improved to 6-2-1 overall, 3-0-0 in Atlantic Sun play, and lowered its league-leading goals against average to 0.52.
"That was a good performance. That was a game that makes a coach smile inside", said Stetson head coach T. Logan Fleck. "Our team was playing for each other and looking for the best option.
Stetson came out on fire and after several quality scoring opportunities struck gold at 8:50. Jonathan Mendoza (Bogata, Colombia) made a run wide left and then delivered a cross into the box that deflected off a defender and found Ryan Asare-Bediako (Tampa, Fla.) 10 yards out for a header topside just inside the left post. It was the 3rd goal of the season for AB.
Stetson continued to control the flow of play in a half that saw the home team come away with a 12-6 advantage in shots. At 33:16 sophomore midfielder Kai Eckenrode (Springfield, Va.) was the next Hatter to stop the clock. The Norwegian duo of Joakim Helland (Bergan) and Fredrik Brustad (Oslo) set up Eckenrode's 4th of 2010. Helland started the play with a flick through pass to Brustad who was making one of his patented right flank runs. In one motion Brustad went into a slide and ripped a cross that cleared the defenders and gave Eckenrode an open net that he did not miss.
After the break the Hatters played a cautious second half making sure to defend their territory while pushing forward when the opportunities arose. ETSU actually outshot Stetson 6-5 in the period reducing the home team's final advantage in shots to 17-12. Stetson also finished with an 8-6 lead in corner kick opportunities.
"That team we played is the 7th ranked team in the region and they came in here confident. I am very happy with the mental toughness we played with tonight", said Fleck. "Schnabl and the back four did a great job tonight. They were very confident and we need to see that continue going forward."
Next up for the Hatters is a day off and then a Sunday afternoon game with USC Upstate which will take place at 1:00 p.m. at the Stetson Soccer Complex.
"We need to show up Sunday and put two good performances back to back", added Fleck.