DeLand, Fla. - The Stetson men's soccer team played to a 1-1 tie with Jacksonville Sunday afternoon at the Stetson Soccer Complex. The Hatters (9-5-2, 6-2-1) needed a win to finish the regular season as the #1 seed and host the upcoming A-Sun Tournament Final Four. Stetson, the #2 seed will now have a bye and a week off before traveling to Johnson City, Tennessee to play the winner of the Mercer vs. Jacksonville quarterfinal game on November 11. Jacksonville (8-8-2, 3-5-1) needed a win or a tie this afternoon to qualify for the tournament.
Jacksonville opened the scoring in the 19th minute. Christopher Helms (Hamburg, Germany) picked up ball and crossed from left side to Martin Resch (Porsgrunn, Norway) in lower right side of box. He immediately headed it back to left center to Tyler Williams (Tallahassee, Fla.) who headed in top right corner of the goal.
With the lead and needing just a tie to reach the postseason, Jacksonville focused on defense while the Hatters pressed forward for the remainder of the game. Overall the Hatters outshot the Dolphins 19-5 and finished with a 7-2 advantage in corner kick chances.
It took a while, but the Hatters eventually broke through with a tying goal in the 82nd minute. With Stetson pressing hard senior Giulio D'Amore located the ball in the box and headed it to Dan Sackman who volleyed it past the keeper lower right. It was the second goal of the season and last ever at the Stetson Soccer Complex for the senior out of Hampshire, England.
"Sacko played his heart out", said Stetson head coach t. Logan Fleck. "His parents came from 'over the pond' to see him play and I was just smiling to see him get one."
For the final eight minutes of regulation, and through two overtime periods the Hatters gave it everything they had in an effort to win the game and host the tournament. They had five shots in overtime compared to none for the Dolphins. The best chance came inside the final two minutes when Ryan Asare-Bediako (Tampa, Fla.) was set up with an open goal, yet sailed one just high and over the crossbar.
"We are are going to take that as a loss. On senior day we wanted to walk out of here and get a win. All the credit goes to JU, they had a great game plan and their coach did a great job of getting them ready and they came out fighting to get in the tournament", said Fleck. "We created the chances to win the game but you have to put it in the back of the net. We wish we had done enough to keep the tournament here. We did enough, we just didn't finish our chances."
Today was senior day, the final home game at the Stetson Soccer Complex for seniors Dan Sackman, Giulio D'Amore, and Ryan Corning.