DeLand, Fla. - The Stetson men's soccer team claimed at least a #2 seed and a first round bye in the upcoming A-Sun Championship Tournament with a 5-1 win over UNF Friday night at the Stetson Soccer Complex. Stetson improved to 9-5-1 overall and 6-2-0 in conference play while the Ospreys fell to 3-10-0 and 2-6-0 on the season. The Hatters will host Jacksonville on Sunday in the regular season finale. A win over the Dolphins would give the Hatters the #1 seed and allow them to host the conference tournament in DeLand.
Juniors Gonzalo de Mujica and Joakim Helland, and freshman Evan Jimmo led the offensive charge for the Hatters. de Mujica (Buenos Aires, Argentina) scored a pair of goals, while Helland (Bergen, Norway) and Jimmo (Melbourne, Fla.) each scored a goal and added an assist.
Helland scored the game's first goal in the 18th minute. Jonathan Mendoza (Bogata, Colombia) made a run down the right side and delivered a cross through the box to Giulio D'Amore (DeLand, Fla.) who one-timed it to Helland for an open shot to the top right of the goal.
UNF answered nine minutes later with an impressive shot by freshman Rickie Lawrence (Prairieville, La.) that sailed over Stetson keeper Andras Schnabl (Blaichach, Germany) and just under the crossbar from 25 yards out. There was nothing Schnabl could do on the play.
The teams went into halftime even up at one each and then Stetson head coach T. Logan Fleck made some adjustments.
"We played a good first half but we were a little sloppy and gave away a goal. In the second half we made some adjustments to how they were defending us with the offside trap and it gave us some more chances to get ourselves in better positions to score... And then we worked very hard to get some good goal scoring chances", said Fleck
"I thought we did well to keep the flow and try and move the ball around to where we could find the most opportunistic time to come forward and Gonzo was very much involved in most of that tonight", he added.
Early in the 52nd minute de Mujica made a move to get around the keeper who tripped him up in the box. The keeper received a yellow card and de Mujica was given a penalty kick which he did not miss. A PK that turned out to be the game-winning goal. A little less than 20 minutes later de Mujica picked up his second goal with an assist going to Helland.
Stetson's leading scorer and A-Sun Preseason Player of the year Fredrik Brustad (Oslo, Norway) made the score 4-1 when he was sent in by Jimmo. Brustad blasted a shot that nicked the right post on its way into the back of the net.
In the 85th minute Jimmo rounded out the scoring with a keeper for the highlight reel. He picked up a pass in the center of the goal mouth and ripped a shot from 10 yards out. UNF goalkeeper Tyler Willets (Gulf Breeze, Fla.) made a nice save yet could not control the rebound that caromed directly back to Jimmo who headed it into the twine.
"Evan played well tonight. As a freshman he is showing some good growth, his touch was good and he was getting the ball to the right places at the right times", said Fleck. "We are looking for impact like that from our players off the bench and Evan was definitely ready to give it to us tonight."
Sunday is Senior Day for the Hatters. When Stetson takes on Jacksonville at 4:00 p.m. it will be the final regular season home game for seniors Giulio D'Amore, Dan Sackman (Hampshire, England), and Ryan Corning (Ponte Vedra, Fla.).