Jacksonville, Fla. - Junior midfielder Kai Eckenrode (Springfield, Va.) scored two goals, including the overtime game-winner, as the Stetson men's soccer team (9-5-3, 6-1-1 Atlantic Sun) pulled off a crucial 4-3 OT win at Jacksonville (8-7-2, 5-2-1 A-Sun) Sunday night in the A-Sun finale for both teams. With the win, the Hatters clinched the #2 seed in the upcoming A-Sun tournament and ran their unbeaten streak to eight matches.
Stetson led 1-0 at halftime after a relatively quiet first half that saw junior midfielder Jonathan Mendoza (Bogota, Colombia) score in the 24th minute for his 10th goal of the season. That first 45 minutes would prove merely to be the calm before the storm as the Hatters and Dolphins erupted for six goals, two penalty kicks and five yellow cards in the time remaining.
Jacksonville scored in the 52nd on a Jack McIver goal (assisted by Darko Karamatic) and again in the 59th minute when a foul in the box allowed Tyler Williams to put home a penalty kick. That Dolphin lead held up for just 100 seconds until Eckenrode's unassisted goal knotted the score right back up 2-2.
The scoring flurry wasn't done yet, however, as Stefan Durr passed to Tobias Hottner for a 63rd minute goal and a 3-2 JU advantage. In the 69th minute, it was Stetson's turn to capitalize on a foul deep in the 18-yard box and senior midfielder Gonzalo de Mujica (Buenos Aires, Argentina) buried the penalty kick for the 3-3 tie.
The game went to overtime still knotted up and Eckenrode became the one to resolve it in the 95th minute when he drove home the rebound of a de Mujica shot that JU goalkeeper Gavin Carlin could not corral. De Mujica was credited with the assist by rule, giving him a four-point night.
The Dolphins, who dropped to the #3 seed in the A-Sun tourney, out-shot the Hatters 16-12 and won the corner kick battle 5-4. Carlin made fives saves for his team with sophomore goalkeeper Andreas Schnabl (Blaichach, Germany) stopping six shots for Stetson.
"What a great win in a back and forth match this was for our team," Head Coach T. Logan Fleck said. "I can't ask for more out of this team than what they gave us throughout October (6-0-2) and this road trip with six points at UNF and JU. We showed a lot of character and maturity; this was great preparation for the A-Sun Tournament."
"We played with a lot of heart," de Mujica added. "We came back from being down twice and outplayed them in overtime to get the result we wanted, which was that bye into the semifinals of the tournament."
Stetson will honor de Mujica and its other five upperclassmen (Ryan Asare-Bediako, Dan Billman, Matt Delisle, Joakim Helland, Stephan Ledain) when it hosts Nebraska-Omaha on Senior Night this coming Saturday, November 5. The regular season finale begins at 7:00 pm and will be available on Hatter Vision and Live Stats at GoHatters.com.
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