DeLand, Fla. - The Hatters scored three first half goals and then cruised to a 4-1 win over the Atlantic Sun's top team Friday night at the Stetson Soccer Complex. Stetson is now 5-7-0 overall and 2-2-0 in A-Sun play. Kennesaw State, the defending league champions and picked to repeat in 2010 fell to 6-5-1 and 3-2-0 on the season.
Hatters freshman Alyssa Welsh (Edison, N.J.) scored a pair of goals and senior Tessa Gavilsky (Granite City, Ill.) added a goal and two assists to lead the home team to a very big win.
"Anytime you can dethrone the defending conference champions it is a thrilling result", said Stetson head coach Julie Orlowski. "We had a great week of practice. We have been playing better and better each game and this is our best game yet. It will be exciting to see how far we can go now."
Courtney Jenista (Pensacola, Fla.) was the first to put the Hatters on the scoreboard and push the Owls slightly back onto their heels. Katie Bitetto (Jacksonville, Fla.) made a move down the right side and delivered a cross into the left side of the box. Gavilsky who was fighting off a defender, managed to get enough on the ball to send it towards the right post to Jenista who was in perfect position to finish with a tap in.
Gavilsky and Jenista combined once again to set up Welsh for Stetson's second goal at 29:15. After a pair of one-touch passes she hit the open goal for her second of the season. It was her third goal of 2010 however, what came next was even more impressive. In the 39th minute Sarah Rodriguez (Deltona, Fla.) made a hustle play to get open in the middle. She slipped the ball out wide to the left and the freshman ripped a bending strike that buzzed over the keeper and tickled the twine top-right from over 20 yards out.
"That was a great goal. We knew what we were getting with Alyssa", said Orlowski. "She has been learning a new position playing on the left and she is really starting to play well. She scored a lot of goals in high school and knows how to find the back of the net."
The Hatters came out of the halftime break up 3-0 and then traded scores with the Owls in the second. After just missing on a couple great chances earlier in the game Gavilsky notched her 4th goal of the season at 59:32. She took a through pass from Natalie Simon (Lauderhill, Fla.), made a few moves, dribbled around the keeper, and finished from eight yards out on the left. She seemed determined to get a goal before the night was through and she did just that.
"Tessa worked very hard and controlled the tempo from center midfield. She opened up scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates. She won every head ball and was just dominant in the air tonight", said Orlowski.
Next up for the Hatters is a home game against Mercer on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. The Bears were in Fort Myers tonight where they fell 1-0 to Florida Gulf Coast.