LAKELAND – After watching Eckerd take a 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, the Florida Southern Moccasins needed a spark to awaken their offense, and though Caroline Evers and Sydney Montgomery may not show up on the stat sheet, both players provided one. They left it to Kara Moore and Jackie Metz to do the rest. Moore scored three second-half goals, Metz made key plays on both ends of the field, and the Mocs used all of it for a 3-1 win over the Tritons.
Florida Southern (5-5-2, 3-1-1 Sunshine State Conference) has gone 4-1-1 in its last six games, but had to come from behind to beat the Tritons (7-4-2, 3-3-1). The Mocs out-shot the Tritons 8-4 in the first half, but were left frustrated with missed opportunities while Eckerd made the most of one of its very few.
In the second half, however, the Moccasins looked like a different team, and with Moore scoring on a free kick in the 56th minute and a penalty kick in the 69th, they erased the deficit and took a 2-1 lead. Moore would later score the clinching goal in the 84th minute, giving the junior midfielder her first career hat trick. It was the first for any Moccasin since Liz Gorman scored three goals in a 4-2 victory at Lynn in 2008.
While Moore did the scoring for Florida Southern, it was the work of players like Evers and Montgomery who gave her the opportunity. With the Mocs still trailing 1-0, Evers tried to make a run to goal in the 56th minute, only to be taken down on the left edge of the box. That gave Florida Southern a free kick in prime position, and Moore drove it under goalkeeper Morgan Crescent to tie the game.
Thirteen minutes later, it was Montgomery who was driving toward the goal and who drew the foul, only this time it was inside the box for a penalty kick. Moore buried that one too, putting the Mocs ahead 2-1, with Montgomery sharing the congratulatory handshakes.
The Tritons managed to re-group after that and put together several scoring chances of their own, only to have the Moccasin defense hold its ground. The most dangerous came on four corner kicks by Arie Anahory, and one of those resulted in a header by Sarah Trumbull that hit the crossbar. Metz, however, went high to clear two others and protect the Mocs’ 2-1 lead. After a shot by Kelsey Pomerleau was saved by Erin Moseley in the 81st minute, the Moccasins held the Tritons without another one the rest of the match.
Metz then helped put the game away for Florida Southern when she played a ball from the right flank into the center of the box where Moore drilled a running shot into the net for her final goal of the night and her fourth of the season. She came close to adding to those totals though in the 86th minute when she nearly scored directly off a corner kick, but had the ball glance off the crossbar.
Florida Southern out-shot Eckerd in the match, 20-7, including 12-3 in the second half. Crescent had five saves for Eckerd, and Moseley had two for Florida Southern.
Eckerd’s goal came from Michelle Spesshardt in the 35th minute when the Tritons took advantage of a mix-up in the Florida Southern box. Dana Treat assisted the goal, which Spesshardt scored after she controlled a bouncing ball in front of the net. It was one of only four shots the Tritons had in the first half.
At the game’s outset, Florida Southern had two early free kicks within striking distance of the Eckerd net but was unable to turn either of them into shots. Some other promising opportunities in the early going were also left unfulfilled, though Kirra Rainbow had a good look inside the box in the 13th minute, and hit another shot on target in the 21st that was saved by Crescent.
Morgan Sammons also gave the offense a spark from her center back position with two nice runs during the first half, the second of which ended with a strong shot from the left wing that Crescent was able to handle. Moore then gave the Mocs three chances in the 27th, 29th and 31st minutes, first with a corner kick that was punched up in the air by Crescent and caught before any of the Moccasins could put a head on it. The other two came on free kicks that were saved by Crescent, one of them near the center from 20 yards after Rainbow was fouled driving into the box.
Florida Southern will be on the road for its next match on Wednesday, October 17 at Barry. Game time is 7:00 p.m.