|Hatters Do Battle and Claim Victory Over Spartans|
Simmons delivers game-winner for Stetson.
Courtesy: Stetson University
Spartanburg, S.C. – Freshman Crossley Simmons (Winfield, Ill.) scored the game-winning goal for the Hatters (7-8-2, 5-4-0) who came back for a 2-1 win over USC Upstate (3-14-0, 1-9-0) Sunday in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Coming into the weekend Stetson needed a win to secure a spot in the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship Tournament. As it turned out, Campbell’s loss to Mercer Saturday night sealed the deal for the Hatters who will be among the top six teams playing November 5-8 in Kennesaw, Georgia. Stetson is now playing for momentum and as high a seed as possible.
The Spartans jumped out to the early lead with a goal by Caitlin Robinson at 16:14. Alyssa Roegner passed to Robinson on the right center of the field. Robinson jumped and took the shot in the air, lifting the ball over Stetson keeper Andrea Garavaglia (Webster Groves, Mo.) and into the back of the net.
The Upstate lead did not last long. Six minutes later Elise Ketcham (Deltona, Fla.) stole a clearing attempt and put a shot on goal that deflected off the crossbar and rebounded back to Katie Bitetto (Jacksonville, Fla.) who then delivered the equalizer. It was one of a number of opportunities for Bitetto who hustled her way into excellent position throughout the game.
Coming off a tough loss to ETSU on Friday, Stetson played like a team on a mission controlling the tempo of the game. After leading the Spartans 7-5 in shots in the first half, the Hatters dominated the second with a 10-2 advantage.
“I was very pleased that we created a number of very good scoring chances today,” said Head Coach Julie Orlowski. “We were very dangerous in the attacking end of the field.”
The result of Stetson’s relentless second half charge was a game-winning goal by Simmons. It started with a corner kick that ended up being battered around the box. Tessa Gavilsky (Granite City, Ill.) picked up the loose ball, knocked it towards the goal and Simmons deflected it home for her third goal of the season.
Upstate nearly tied the game in the 88th minute when Leigh Ward had an open shot at the goal. At the last second defender Alexis Hermosa (Orlando, Fla.) was there to make a sliding save and preserve the Hatter 2-1 lead.
“That ball was definitely going in,” said Orlowski. “Although the game shouldn’t have been that close, it was nice to see Alexis come through with a big play and pick up her teammates. We are looking forward to taking the momentum of this win into next Saturday’s game at Florida Gulf Coast and then into the conference tournament.
Stetson completes its regular season Saturday in Fort Myers with a 5:00 p.m. game at FGCU.
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