|Hatters Beat Lipscomb 3-1, Clinch A-Sun Berth|
DeLand, Fla. - Junior midfielder Jonathan Mendoza (Bogota, Colombia) scored two goals, his team-leading eighth and ninth tallies of the season, to lead the Stetson men's soccer team (7-5-2, 4-1-1 Atlantic Sun) to a 3-1 win over visiting Lipscomb (4-11-2, 3-4-0 A-Sun) Sunday at the Stetson Soccer Complex. The victory clinched a spot for the Hatters in the upcoming A-Sun tournament for the 14th year in a row and served as Head Coach T. Logan Fleck's 50th win at Stetson.
A physical, hardfought scoreless tie for much of the first half hour finally turned in Stetson's favor in the 29th minute when freshman midfielder Elias Beates (Winter Park, Fla.) received a long service from junior midfielder Kai Eckenrode (Springfield, Va.), turned to face goal and ripped one to the lower left corner past Bisons goalkeeper Brent McGee. It was the second goal of the year for Beates.
The Hatters thought they had a shutout and the lead preserved heading into the intermission, but a last-minute foul deep in the Stetson end allowed Lipscomb's Edvaldo Pedro to put the re-start right on the head of substitute Shea McGee for a point-blank goal and a tie at halftime.
It only took six minutes in the second half for the Hatters to seize control as Eckenrode launched a beautiful cross from midfield directly to the foot of a charging Mendoza, who connected on the run for what proved to be the game-winning goal. Eckenrode's two assists on the day tied him for the team lead with five. Mendoza wasn't done yet, however, scoring in the 63rd minute on a similar through pass from sophomore midfielder Steven Saballos (Miami, Fla.). Saballos now has five assists along with Eckenrode and senior midfielder Gonzalo de Mujica (Buenos Aires, Argentina).
Sophomore goalkeeper Andreas Schnabl (Blaichach, Germany) made two saves to earn the victory; McGee had six for Lipscomb. Stetson out-shot Lipscomb 18-13.
Today's victory makes Fleck the third head coach in Stetson history to win 50 matches with the Hatters and the fastest to the mark in his 87th match (50-27-10 in five seasons). The Hatters now have 13 points in conference play and are assured of qualifying for their 14th consecutive A-Sun tournament.
"It's a great victory to qualify us for the tournament; de Mujica and Saballos did a great job for us of keeping our tempo," Coach Fleck said.
Said de Mujica, "it was physical but we concentrated on playing our game and not theirs, thankfully we were able to put three in the back of the net and now we can focus on Tuesday."
Stetson steps out of conference play to host nationally 14th-ranked UCF at 7:00 pm Tuesday, October 25. Live Stats and Hatter Vision will be available at GoHatters.com. The match is believed to be Stetson's first at home against a Top 25 opponent since defeating #8 FIU 3-2 on October 15, 1997.
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