LAKELAND - For the second consecutive season, Florida Southern battled for 60 minutes here Monday evening against the two-time defending NCAA Division II Champions from Adelphi University, but fell short to the top-ranked Panthers in a 16-10 setback at Bryant Stadium.
It is the second time in school history that the Moccasins (0-2) faced the No. 1 ranked in the country. FSC is now 9-13 all-time against ranked opponents in school history, including being 0-2 this year against ranked foes as the Mocs opened this season with a 10-7 setback last Thursday against then 15th-ranked Grand Valley State.
With the win, Adelphi has now won nine consecutive games and 45 of its last 46 games since the beginning of the 2014 season. In 2014, the Panthers went 22-0 and then posted a 21-1 record last season and is 2-0 this season.
The loss spoiled a career night for Moccasin junior attacker Kendall Kerge (Edgewater, Md.) as she finished the night with a career-high seven goals. The seven goals are tied for the most in a single game in school history.
Kerge's seven goals broke her previous career high of five goals against Saint Leo as a freshman in 2014.
In Monday's game, the Mocs couldn't recover from a nine-goal first half by the Panthers in opening the season by losing its first two games in school history.
Adelphi opened the game by scoring two goals in a span of 55 seconds in the opening four minutes of the game to jump out to a 2-0 lead.
Kerge would get the Mocs on the scoreboard with 25:14 left in the first half on a free position shot.
Emily Keesling gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead on an unassisted goal with 24:59 left in the opening half, but Kerge would score two consecutive goals in a span of 56 seconds to help the Mocs tie the game at 3.
The Panthers, though, would answer Kerge's two-goal flurry by scoring five of the next six goals to take an 8-5 lead. Two of Adelphi's five goals came from Keesling, who finished with career high five goals in the win.
FSC appeared to be heading into the half trailing by three goals following an unassisted goal by sophomore attacker Cayla Shawfield (Oviedo, Fla.) with 1:04 left in the first half to pull the Mocs within 8-5. But, Keesling scored on a free position shot with three seconds left in the half to give the Panthers a 9-5 halftime lead.
That goal by Keesling to close the first half seemed to ignite the Panthers as they opened the second half by scoring three consecutive goals in a span of nearly seven minutes to push its lead to 12-5. Two of Adelphi's goals during that span came from Jacqueline Jahelka, who also scored five goals in the victory.
Kerge, though, would stop the Panthers run with her fourth goal of the game off a pass from Shawfield to drop Adelphi's lead to 12-6 with 20:42 left in the game.
Adelphi responded by scoring three consecutive goals over the next 10 minutes to extend its lead to 15-6.
The Mocs would close out the game by scoring four of the final five goals, including getting two more goals from Kerge and also getting goals from sophomore midfielder Emily Santoli (Fort Salonga, N.Y.) and senior attacker Ashley Robertson (Ellicott City, Md.). Adelphi's goal during that stretch came from Camille Rosellini with 4:11 left in the game.
Along with Kerge's seven points, Shawfield tied her career high with five points as she tied a career high with four assists and had one goal. Santoli and Robertson each also had two points in the loss.
The Mocs were outshot, 30-18 on the night as Keesling and Jahelka combined for 15 of Adelphi's 30 shots, while Kerge had seven of her team's 18 shots.
Sophomore Paige Brodbeck (Millersville, Md.) got the start in goal for the Mocs as she finished the night with 11 saves and allowed 16 goals.
FSC finished the night with 13 caused turnovers, as senior defender Nicole Bellini (Winter Park, Fla.) led the way with three caused turnovers. Adelphi recorded 11 caused turnovers in the win.
The Mocs also held a 17-10 edge in ground balls and recorded eight draw controls, including four from Santoli. Adelphi finished with 19 draw controls as Michele Scannell recorded nine on the night.
Florida Southern, who is in the midst of an eight game homestand, will take nine days off before returning to action on Wednesday, March 2 as the Mocs host Gannon (Pa.) in a 7 p.m. game at Bryant Stadium.