Mocs Back in SSC Title Game With 2-0 Win Over Fla. Tech
PARK – Jackie
Bachteler waited all season to get her first point on the stat sheet,
and when it finally came, it was a play that changed the game and gave
Florida Southern another chance at a conference championship. Bachteler’s
corner kick in the 68th minute was right on target for a header by
Alex Hoover, and
the Kerri-Ann Brown
added a goal in the waning moments to send Florida Southern into the SSC
Championship Game with a 2-0 win over 15th-ranked Florida Tech.
Bachteler was named the all-conference team on Thursday
by excelling in a role that’s been far from glamorous. The junior midfielder
has done the type of work on the defensive side of the field that rarely
gets noticed, but in Friday night’s SSC semifinals, she jumped into the
spotlight. Actually, it was Hoover who jumped; Bachteler made sure the ball
was there for her.
The game had gone back and forth with neither team
scoring until the Mocs earned a corner kick with just over 22 minutes to
play. Bachteler took it, sending it out of the left corner to the far side
of box where Hoover went up to drive in the header for her fourth goal of
The Mocs didn’t have another shot until Brown took a
cross from Morgan
Sammons out of the right corner, and scored her ninth goal of the year
with 2:29 remaining.
Most of the action took place in the second half, with
the teams combining for only nine shots in the first; and after not making
any saves in the first half,
Martina Tangen Billing
made three in the second, and two of them were game-savers. Her diving stop
against SSC Player-of-the-Year Teresa Brantley kept the game tied after
Brantley had dribbled through traffic to rip a line drive shot from the top
of the box in the 58th minute.
That was nothing compared to her save with less than four
minutes remaining that allowed the Mocs to keep their 1-0 lead. This time it
came after a strong cross from Kelli Ragan gave Christina Edwards possession
behind the Mocs defense and well inside the box. The shot from Edwards came
fast, but Tangen Billing was faster, somehow stopping it at point-blank
Shots were few and far between in the first half, with
the Panthers holding a 5-4 edge at halftime. None of their five shots were
on goal, however, while two of the Mocs’ were. Both of those came in the
first 15 minutes, when Panther goalkeeper Melissa Pyles stopped Brown in
front of the right post and later made a diving save against Sammons on a
shot directed toward the left post.
Though none of Florida Tech’s first-half shots were on
target, the Panthers came just as close to scoring as the Mocs did. A header
by Sara Lewis on a corner kick in the 10th minute skimmed off the crossbar,
and two shots in the 35th minute had hearts pounding. The Mocs also got some
tough work by Lexie
Bottomley, who took the full force of a free kick by Lewis from just
outside the box in the 21st minute. It barely staggered her.
Paula Lillsjo set up both those 35th-minute shot by
sending a pass through the Moccasin defense into the left side of the box
for Katie King. That drew Tangen Billing out of the net and King was able to
get a shot past her that rolled wide right. The play wasn’t over though.
Ragan swept in from the back side and had a good look at the goal but her
follow-up shot from inside the six-yard box went harmlessly into the side
With the win, Florida Southern advances to the
championship game of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament for the second
year in a row. The Moccasins will face either top-seeded and host Rollins,
or 4th-seeded Saint Leo on Sunday at 1:00. The winner receives an automatic
bid to next week’s NCAA South Region Tournament, though its likely all four
of the SSC semifinalists will receive bids regardless of the outcome.