LAKELAND – In an evenly played first half at Florida Southern Saturday night, Eckerd managed to take a 1-0 lead into the halftime break. In the second half, however, the Tritons added four goals to their total, with Matt Dolan scoring three in a row at one point, to come out on top, 5-0.
Dolan’s hat trick was sandwiched in between two goals by Joe Swindell, with Dolan assisting the goal in the first half that put Eckerd (7-5-1, 4-2-1 Sunshine State Conference) on top. The Tritons also got two assists from Nick Murawski, and Andrew Hoffer made four saves to notch his third shutout of the season since taking over as the Tritons' goalkeeper in mid-September.
Despite the final score, the shot totals were nearly identical, and for most of the night, Florida Southern (2-9-1, 1-4) was ahead on the ledger. The Tritons finished with a 15-14 edge and also had just one more corner kick than the Moccasins.
Early in the night, it looked as if the Mocs would strike first, or if not record the first goal of the match, they would have one by halftime. After James Gibson had sent a header on a corner kick over the bar in the fourth minute, Aleks Ratkovic created two chances back-to-back in the ninth and 10th minutes. The first came after the senior forward won possession in the attacking third and got the ball quickly outside to Clay Clingerman. Taking it straight to goal, Clingerman nearly scored, but saw Hoffer make a kick save to keep the ball out of the net. Immediately after that, Patrick Abrahamsson, who had another active night for the Mocs, ripped a shot from outside the box that was just high. Later it was Mitchell Francois who was only inches from scoring when his shot bounced off the crossbar in the 32nd minute.
Swindell would score for Eckerd at the 26:38 mark after the Moccasins and Tritons battled back-and-forth for possession near the 18-yard line. Dolan was the one who came up with the ball for Eckerd though, and got it inside for Swindell who finished the play for his second goal of the season.
Moccasin goalkeeper Brent Theriault was forced to come out of the box in the 45th minute to stop a potential break-away by the Tritons’ Marcus Lohrmann, a play that kept the score 1-0 at halftime, with the Mocs trailing but leading in shots taken by the count of 8-7, along with a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks.
The Moccasins nearly tied the game in the 57th minute when Abrahamsson was denied in brilliant fashion by Hoffer. Set up by the play of Niklas Davidsson in the corner, Abrahamsson had a good look at the goal from the left side of the box with only Hoffer between him and the net. His shot was a good one, but for the second time in the match, Hoffer used his foot to make the save and keep the Mocs off the board.
After that, Eckerd was able to take a 2-0 lead in the 59th minute on a corner kick, with Dolan knocking in a header at the back post for his third goal of the season.
The Moccasins came back from that with another strong scoring chance in the 66th minute when Ricky Marton drove a header on target that was saved by Hoffer. At that point, the Mocs were still ahead in the shot department, but Dolan scored on the Tritons’ next two attempts in the 71st and 73rd minutes. The 73rd-minute goal that completed his hat trick was his second of the night on a corner kick, with the ball bouncing loose in the box before the shot.
Swindell then finished the scoring in the 81st minute after Murawski and Daniel Lopez put together two downfield passes that led the freshman forward into the box.
Florida Southern will be back on the field Tuesday night in Miami Shores where it will face Barry University at 7:00 p.m.