LAKELAND, FLA. – Needing a win to secure a berth in the upcoming Sunshine State Conference men's soccer tournament, Florida Southern came from behind to defeat visiting Saint Leo, 2-1, on Senior Night, it was junior James Meehan who scored two goals for the Mocs in the final 14 minutes of the game to propel Southern into the postseason.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Mocs (5-5-5; 3-3-4 SSC) came out strong, pressuring the Saint Leo defense. Senior Claus Lehland blasted a shot in the 4th minute, but a strong save by the SLU keeper kept the game scoreless.
- In the 6th minute, with Southern controlling the pace, the Lions (7-10-0; 3-7-0 SSC) countered and scored, as Elias Niesigk found the back of the net.
- The Mocs continued to control play, but could not score in the first half, outshooting Saint Leo 8-3.
- In the last few seconds of the first half, a Saint Leo foul occurred just outside the box, resulting in a free kick for Florida Southern. However, graduate student Georg Michalov sent a shot directly into the Lions wall, and we remained scoreless heading into halftime.
- In the second half, again Southern controlled play. In the first few minutes of the second stanza, both junior Alberto Diaz and senior Eneko Lasheras had shots blocked.
- As the minutes ticked away, the game became more physical, as yellow cards were dispensed to both teams.
- In the 68th minute, it appeared as if Florida Southern has scored the equalizer. On a corner kick, the ball bounced around in front of the SLU keeper. Meehan deflected the ball out to Diaz who sent a rocket into the back of the goal. However, the play was ruled offsides, and the alleged goal was disallowed.
- Adding to the immediate confusion, lightning was detected in the area as the goal was being disallowed, sending the teams to a 40-minute recess, with Saint Leo still leading 1-0.
- After the second intermission, the Mocs came out a different team, pressing even harder than before. The Mocs needed a win to advance to the postseason; a loss or tie would eliminate Southern from contention and end the season.
- In the 77th minute, the Mocs would tie the game for real. With the ball played in from the midfield, Diaz would settle ball and attack. He found a streaking Meehan, who easily beat the keeper.
- The Mocs had finally found rhythm offensively, and in the 82nd minute, Lehland fed the ball to Meehan, who scored the eventual game winning goal.
- With the remaining minutes ticking away, Southern maintained possession and came away victorious.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- With the win, Florida Southern leaps into the sixth and final spot in the SSC tournament.
- Grad student Philip Faderl made two saves on the evening.
- Meehan has now scored five goals on the season, all coming in his last three games played.
- This is the third straight season that Southern has qualified for the SSC Tournament. In each of the last two seasons, the Mocs were eliminated by Lynn University in the First Round.
- Prior to the contest, FSC honored the six seasoned veterans who were playing their last home game in Red and White: Foster Appiah, Eneko Lasheras, Claus Lehland, Anton Lindbom, Jacob Ling-Vannerus, and Ian McIntosh.
The Mocs will have time to rest and prepare for the First Round of the SSC Tournament. On Monday, November 11, No. 6 Southern will play at No. 3 Palm Beach Atlantic. The winner will then advance to face No. 2 Florida Tech on November 14. Earlier this season, Southern and PBA played to a 1-1 draw.