SAINT LEO, Fla. – It was a fast start that propelled the Saint Leo men’s soccer team to a 3-1 victory over Florida Southern in Sunshine State Conference action from University Field on Wednesday night.
The Lions dropped in two goals in the first four minutes of play in a Senior Night win where they pushed their season-best win-streak to three games and are now 6-6 overall and 2-3 in the SSC. A struggling Moccasin team will head back to Lakeland 1-9 overall and 1-5 in conference.
Only fans who arrived to the game on-time managed to see most of the match’s offense as Leonardo Nogueira, a senior who the Lions honored beforehand, managed to slip in behind the Florida Southern defenders and picked up a beautiful pass across the box from the foot of Bruce Cutler. Nogueira did the rest as he took one touch before blasting it into the top-left corner to put SLU on the board.
Less than two minutes later the Lions were again on the attack. Junior Jonathan Glenn caught a deflection on a Cutler corner-kick as he pushed the ball to sophomore Cody Allen who was camped out at the back post. Allen simply pushed the ball across the line and registered his first career goal to put the Lions up 2-0.
It seemed that Saint Leo was going to run away with the match, but then Florida Southern’s Jovaughn Howard capitalized on a goalkeeping miscue to put the Mocs on the scoreboard. Heading toward goal, Howard pushed an off-balance shot toward Saint Leo ‘keeper Erik Mozzo who managed to get his hands on the ball. Never gaining control, Mozzo saw the shot slip from his hands and carry into the net.
That flurry in the first six minutes would wrap up the first-half scoring although both teams saw a few more chances. Glenn managed back-to-back scoring opportunities just minutes after the FSC goal, but could not connect as the match went into the intermission with the Lions up 2-1.
Out of the break, Florida Southern missed on their first chance just two minutes in, and Saint Leo would make them pay on the counter attack.
Saint Leo gained possession and pushed the ball to their attacking side of the centerline, where Cutler would loft the ball toward the box. Pushing into the area and trying to gain an opportunity, Glenn went up against Johan Jonsson, the FSC ‘keeper, who tried to punch the ball away. The ball’s deflection off Jonsson’s fists carried directly into the back of Glenn’s head and then straight into the goal for the junior’s eighth tally of the season.
It was all up to the Saint Leo defense after that, as they only allowed the visiting Mocs two shots, both in the 81st minute, as Mozzo made a save on a point-blank Florida Southern attempt and then a header redirection.
The win came in the final home contest of the 2009 season as the Lions will see three-straight road matches end the year. The first of the three will come this weekend as the Lions travel to Miami Shores to face the Barry Buccaneers in another Sunshine State Conference showdown. The Lions and Bucs are scheduled to get things underway at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night from Buccaneer Field.