PENSACOLA – For the majority of Friday afternoon’s match against #20 North Georgia, the Florida Southern Moccasins stood toe-to-toe with another nationally ranked opponent from the Peach Belt Conference. The Saints, however, used an 80th-minute goal to beat the Moccasins 1-0, and keep their record perfect on the season.
North Georgia (4-0) had scored 13 goals in its first three games, but was shut down by the Florida Southern defense for nearly the entire game. Eventually they broke through when Caroline Wallace came up with the ball in the attacking third for NGC and sent a quick pass forward to Abby Trevino. With FSC goalkeeper Erin Moseley coming out to challenge her, Trevino fired a shot from just inside the box that Moseley was able to deflect, only to have it bounce off the left post and into the net.
It was the only blemish against a Moccasin defense that was looking for its second shutout and has now given up just three goals in the first three games. The starting back line of Brooke Williams, Morgan Sammons, Alyssa Abrahamsen and Gianna Conte allowed only three shots in the first half, and Abrahamsen had an especially impressive stretch in the second half to keep the game scoreless for the Moccasins (0-2-1).
During one dangerous sequence in the 48th minute, Abrahamsen blocked a shot by Wallace inside the box only to have the ball end up back with Wallace again, whose second shot was saved by Moseley. Then in the 58th minute Abrahamsen took on Kelsey Martin in the box, shutting down another attack before a shot could be taken. Later, in the 71st minute, when Kelly Penston got a shot past Moseley, Abrahamsen was there behind her to clear the ball out of danger and again keep the Saints off the scoreboard.
Neither team could score in the first half, though there were plenty of shots taken early. Each side had two shots in the first eight minutes, and Moseley was forced into action just over a minute into the game, going to the ground to stop a shot from inside the box taken by Sophia Matonak. Moseley also made a save at close range against Matonak in the 22nd minute. That came when Wallace sent a well-placed cross from the right corner to the back post where Moseley was in position to make the stop.
North Georgia had another near-miss in the 32nd minute when Sydney Reeder got loose in the box, but the Moccasins’ Taylor Cox prevented the goal by knocking the ball over the end line.
Florida Southern’s best scoring chances in the first half came from Kara Moore and Danielle Hancock, who each had good long-distance shots saved by North Georgia goalkeeper Mallory Sayre. Moore later had a go at one from about 35 yards in the second half that sailed just over the crossbar.
North Georgia finished with a 15-14 edge in shots taken, with Sayre making six saves for the Saints and Moseley making five for the Moccasins.
Florida Southern will play its second game on the trip to Pensacola on Sunday at 1:30 EST against the University of West Florida.