LAKELAND, FL – Luis Bautista's first goal of the season, early in the second half Monday night, lifted No. 8 Florida Southern to a 1-0 win over the University of Mary (ND) and gave the Moccasins a perfect record in their six non-conference games this season. It also gave Florida Southern its 10th win of the season against just two defeats, the Mocs' first season in double digits since 2001.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The first half was a defensive struggle with only nine shots taken, six by Florida Southern and three by Mary (3-7-1). The Mocs were the aggressors early too as Georg Michajlov pushed one inches wide in the fifth minute, and defender Claus Lehland had two saved by goalkeeper Lukas Billhardt in the 20th and 29th minutes. The second of those came after a well-placed free kick by Christoph Gums landed in the box, causing consternation for Billhardt and the Marauders, with Lehland's shot saved and another by Taylor Vincent wide of the mark deep inside the box.
- Mary's only clear-cut scoring chance of the first half came in the ninth minute when Andre Almqvist hit a shot from 25 yards that forced Benny Yusufoglu into a leaping save to push the ball over the crossbar. That was the only on-target shot the Marauders had the entire night.
- After the scoreless first half, the Moccasins peppered the Marauder goal with five shots and two corner kicks in the first 10 minutes of the second. The two most dangerous came from Pablo Gallo Arias and Henry Phillips, who had shots blocked inside the box by defenders Nathan Clifford and Stanley Joseph.
- It was the sixth shot of the second half that found its mark though, on a scoring play started by Lehland from his left back position. Bautista later took the ball from Eneko Lasheras in the attacking third, drove into the box from the left flank, and slotted a shot past a charging Billhardt for his first goal of the season, and first career goal for the redshirt freshman.
- Even though the Mocs did not score again, they continued to find openings to shoot, only to have Billhardt make save after save. The graduate transfer from Augusta State stopped nine shots in the game, matching Flagler goalkeeper Mel Broughton for the most against Florida Southern this season. The Mocs looked as if they would surely score again, but Billhardt came up with big saves against Michajlov in the 61st, James Meehan in the 65th, and Bautista in the 79th. His save against Meehan came on a brilliant diving header by the Moccasin forward at the end of a centering cross from Cole Scharland.
- Florida Southern out-shot Mary 17-0 in the second half to earn its eighth shutout of the season with Yusufoglu having to make only the one very early save. It was the third time this season the Moccasins had more than 20 shots in the game, with their final tally on Monday 23.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern reached the 10-win plateau for the seventh time in school history, and the first since back-to-back 12-5 seasons in 2000 and 2001. The school record for wins is 13, which was set in 1999. The only other time the Mocs hit 10 wins in 12 games was in 1997 (10-1-1).
- The eighth shutout by Yusufoglu and Florida Southern rank second in the team record book for both an individual goalkeeper and the team. Cliff Dixon and the Moccasins had 11 in 1997. It was also Yususfoglu 10th career shutout, which already ranks fourth in team history.
- The Moccasins lead the Sunshine State Conference in shutouts this season with eight, one more than Palm Beach Atlantic. Their shutout on Monday came without regular starters Daniel Moore and Jake Starling playing, with Anton Lindbom and Mason Comer starting in their place with regulars Foster Appiah and Lehland. Phillips split the game nearly evenly with Comer. The three shots allowed were a season-low, and the fourth time the Mocs have allowed five or less.
- Florida Southern not only went through the non-conference portion of its schedule 6-0, it also did not allow a goal in any of those six games. The only other time the Moccasins went undefeated in non-conference games was 2010 when they were 6-0-1. The win by Florida Southern gives the Sunshine State Conference a 38-11-3 against outside competition this season, a .760 winning percentage that is by far the best among any Division II conference in the country.
- Mary is one of only three independents in Division II men's soccer, with the Northern Sun Intercollegiate not sponsoring that sport. The Marauders have now played in six different states (with two more to come) and one Canadian province this year, and will hit every time zone by the end of the season. They came to Florida for one game after playing at Seattle Pacific last Thursday night.
Florida Southern returns to SSC play on Saturday with a 6 p.m. match at Embry-Riddle in Daytona Beach.