The Stetson women's soccer team (3-12-1, 1-6-1) outshot league-leading Mercer (12-3-3, 6-0-2) by a mark of 12-3 in the second half, but it wasn't enough. The Bears defeated the Hatters 2-0 on Friday night.
"I feel very good about our future, because if that is a team that's going to play for first place on Sunday, we are not far off," Head Coach Julie Orlowski said following the game.
Mercer took the lead in the 28th minute of play when Washida Blackman crossed a ball into the box from the right side. Her pass found the foot of Danielle Hesse, who one-touched it past Stetson goalkeeper Victoria Troccoli and into the back of the net.
The Bears continued to attack throughout the first half, totaling eight shots to Stetson's zero, but the Hatters were able to keep Mercer off the board for the remainder of the period and go into the break down just 1-0.
The game switched gears in the second frame, as Stetson outshot Mercer 12-3 for the final 45 minutes. The Hatters' best opportunity came with 24 minutes remaining when freshman Mara Keomanivane carried the ball across the middle of the field and fired a shot from 25 yards out. Her attempt nearly beat Mercer keeper Maggie Cropp, but the freshman got a couple of fingers on the ball and tipped it up and off of the crossbar.
Junior Alyssa Welsh, who was a big part of the Stetson offensive momentum in the second half, had a pair of quality attempts at goal in the frame. With 27 minutes remaining, she controlled the ball after a corner kick by senior Kaisi Hartwick, turned in the box fired a shot towards goal that was barely blocked by a defender. Later in the period, with just four minutes left on the clock, Welsh managed to create another attempt at goal, but this one went just wide of the net.
"Alyssa Welsh responded really well [to the second half changed], and controlled the tempo," Orlowski said. "We haven't seen that side of Alyssa in a while, so that was good to see."
Unfortunately, none of Stetson's opportunities at goal in the second half turned into points on the scoreboard. Mercer finished with the 2-0 lead even though the Hatters led 12-11 in shots and only trailed 4-3 in corner kicks. Troccoli totaled one save for Stetson, while Cropp saved two shots in her fifth shutout of the season.
Stetson will conclude the 2012 season on Sunday against Kennesaw State. The match is scheduled for 1:00 pm, following a brief ceremony honoring Stetson seniors Kaisi Hartwick and Kristen Mueller in their final game with the Hatters.
Coach Orlowski Interview