Mocs Second Half Rally Falls Short Against NCAA Division III No. 11 Ranked Hamilton

Mocs Second Half Rally Falls Short Against NCAA Division III No. 11 Ranked Hamilton

BRADENTON - Florida Southern saw its five-game win streak halted here Thursday evening as the NCAA Diivision II 10th-ranked Moccasins dropped a hard-fought 10-9 decision to the NCAA Division III 11th-ranked Hamilton Continentals in a non-conference game at G.T. Bray Park.

Thursday's game was Florida Southern's first game away from home this season as they played their first seven games at home this season. FSC is now 5-3 on the season following Thursday's loss. 

In Thursday's game, the Mocs trailed 6-3 at the half and were down 10-6 with 6:40 left in the game, when they rallied to score three goals in the game's final six-plus minutes, including sophomore attacker Meghan O'Brien (Rochester, N.Y.) scoring a goal off a pass from sophomore attacker Shannon Gilfedder (Longwood, Fla.) with 15 seconds left to cap the scoring.

O'Brien was one of three Mocs to score two goals in Thursday's game as junior attacker Kendall Kerge (Edgewater, Md.) and senior attacker Ashley Robertson (Ellicott City, Md.) also tallied two goals in the loss.

Hamilton (4-1)  would get the scoring started just 65 seconds into the game as Morgan Fletcher scored the first of her three goals on the night. The Continentals lead grew to 2-0 just two minutes later on a free position shot by Jackie Cuddy.

FSC would finally find the scoreboard nearly 11 minutes into the game as sophomore midfielder Emily Santoli (Fort Salonga, N.Y.) scored her 11th goal of the season to drop Hamilton's lead to 2-1.

Hamilton pushed its lead to 3-1 nearly two minutes after Santoli's goal on a score by Annie Pooley. 

After Robertson found the back of the net with 15:22 left in the first half, the Continentals would score three straight goals over a span of nearly 12 minutes to push its lead 6-2. 

The Mocs, though, would answer with less than a second left in the first half on a goal by O'Brien off a pass from sophomore attacker Cayla Shawfield (Oviedo, Fla.) to drop Hamilton's lead to 6-3 at the half.

Hamilton would open the second half with a goal from Fletcher with 20:42 remaining to push her team's lead to 7-3. After the team's traded goals to give Hamilton an 8-4 lead, the Mocs used goals from Kerge and Gilfedder to pull within 8-6 with 13:19 left in the game.

The Continentals would answer by scoring two goals in a span of nearly three minutes to push its lead to 10-6 with 6:40 remaining. 

That is when the Mocs made their final run as Robertson got the run started with her unassisted goal with 6:15 left and then senior defender Nicole Bellini (Winter Park, Fla.) scored the first goal of her career on a free position shot with 2:37 left in the game. Bellini's goal pushed the Mocs with two at 10-8. 

Fletcher had three of Hamilton's 10 goals, while Pooley and Margaret Gabriel each had two goals in the win. 

FSC outshot Hamilton, 23-20 and held a 13-7 edge in draw controls. The Mocs also caused 12 turnovers and had 21 ground balls, including four apiece from Bellini and senior defender Rachael Griffith (Ellicott City, Md.) each had four in the loss. 

Junior Taylor Gillis (Bel Air, Md.), who is the two-time Sunshine State Conference Defensive Player of the Week, made eight saves in 60 minutes in goal to fall to 3-2 on the season, while Hamilton's Gabby O'Brien (4-1) recorded nine saves in the win. 

The Mocs will now take eight days off before returning to action on Friday, March 25 as they travel to Charlotte, N.C., for a 1 p.m. game at 14th-ranked Queens University of Charlotte.