LAKELAND – With two of her top returning players unable to suit up Saturday against Lynn University, Florida Southern head coach Brittany Jones was looking for some new players to step up and emerge as potential leaders for the Moccasins. She got what she was looking for, and maybe a little bit more. Freshman Caroline Evers scored the first two goals of her career and freshman Christine Knudstrup led a crushing defense that propelled the Mocs to a 3-0 non-conference win over the Knights.
The Moccasins (2-4-1) were without starting center back Morgan Sammons, and their top scorer from the last two seasons, Kara Moore, but Knudstrup and Evers took on starring roles in their place. The result was the Mocs’ best performance to date, as they scored early, out-shot the Knights 17-4, and went on to earn their third shutout of the season.
Evers, who missed most of the first four games of the season, scored her first goal just over nine minutes into the game. It was created by freshman midfielder Danielle Hancock, who got her the ball in the middle of the field, allowing Evers to dribble into the box for the shot. Goalkeeper Meghan Dolan made a valiant effort but had no chance to make a play as the ball sailed into the upper left corner of the net.
The second goal of the match, and the second goal for Evers, was set up with a beautiful cross from Kirra Rainbow in the 35th minute. The sophomore forward was deep in the right corner just off the end line, but managed to send the ball arcing across the field where Evers drove home a header at the back post for a 2-0 Florida Southern lead.
Sarah Goolsby then finished the scoring with a penalty kick four minutes into the second half after she was taken down in the box fighting for possession. It was also the first goal of Goolsby’s career.
Of Florida Southern’s 17 shots in the game, 13 were on target, with 10 of them saved by Dolan. Evers and Goolsby accounted for most of those totals, but Rainbow and Hancock were also frequently on the attack for the Moccasins, giving Florida Southern several other scoring chances throughout the game.
Meanwhile, Knudstrup seemed to be the driving force behind Florida Southern’s defense, though the entire Moccasin back line stood out in the shutout effort. The freshman defender cleared too many balls to count from her spot in the middle, and Alyssa Abrahamsen wasn’t far behind in the count. Even when it appeared the Knights (2-4-1) would surely score in the 60th minute on a dangerous ball played into the box by Tatiana Penagos, Knudstrup was there to break up the play and keep Lynn off the board. If there was a signature moment for the Lakeland native and George Jenkins graduate, then that was it.
Also starring in the shutout were Brooke Williams and Gianna Conte, as goalkeeper Erin Moseley had to make just one save in the match. That came in the 62nd minute off the foot of Aleanna Vargas, and it was the only one of the Knights’ four attempts that came inside the box. The four shots were the fewest allowed by the Moccasins since a 2-1 win over Tampa in 2010 where they also allowed just four.
Though Florida Southern has gone 2-1 against teams from the Sunshine State Conference this year, the Moccasins will be playing their first conference match on Tuesday night when they host Nova Southeastern at 6:00 p.m. The Mocs defeated the Sharks in Davie two weeks ago in a non-conference match by a score of 1-0.