DELAND, Fla. (gohatters.com) – Freshman Miguel Romero and redshirt sophomore Kelvin Zinck recorded their first collegiate goals as Stetson men's soccer soared over Embry-Riddle, 3-1, Tuesday night at the ATC
"Embry-Riddle was very organized and tough to break down as we controlled possession," head coach Emmett Rutkowski said "We struggled a little bit with really good chances. I give them a lot of credit, they defended well and executed their game plan well in the first half. We need to do a better job of being more cutthroat in the final third. We talked about that at halftime and I thought we did a really good job of that; we had some chances. I hate the that we gave up the goal because we want the shutout but I'm happy we put a couple goals in."
The match started as a stalemate with neither side making offensive inroads against the foe's defense while the feeling out process between the teams carried through the first 25 minutes. In the 26th minute Gio Rodriguez and Charles Ahl subbed into the match. Seventy-eight seconds after that, Rodriguez recorded the first shot on goal of the match. Four minutes and one second following that shot on goal, Rodriguez and Colton Myers assisted Romero's goal, the first of the match.
"I saw a couple marks being pulled away leaving me free in the back of the box," Romero said "I called for the ball and Gio [Rodriguez] saw me, I took two touches and the third one I hit and scored it."
The Hatters pushed the issue in the minutes following with Luis Delgado knocking a shot off the middle of the crossbar and Charles Ahl forcing a save from Eagle goalkeeper Thomas Loesel. Despite the efforts, the match went into halftime with the single mark separating the teams.
The second half adjustments pushed the game back to the stalemate the into the match. The teams traded possession with neither making a clear-cut chance until Rodriguez forced another save from the Eagle netminder at the 53:44 mark of the match.
Twenty-three minutes into the second half, Zinck put his mark on the score sheet. After a corner kick was punched clear by Loesel, the ball landed at the feet of Jacob Lenhard. The freshman midfielder played in a cross back into the box that Zinck met in the air, sending the ball to the near post as the keeper's momentum carried him away from the shot.
Three minutes and 18 seconds later, the Eagles cracked the scoreboard. After stringing possession together in the attacking third, Konstantin Kosoric found a pocket of space and the ball. Kosoric launched a rocket that did not leave Hatter goalkeeper Michael Smith time to react and cut the advantage back to one goal, 2-1.
In the 76th minute, Gabriel Toro and Andres Mata combined to put the match away. Mata sent a through ball in for Toro as the run came at the right time to avoid offside. Toro ripped a shot that Loesel whiffed at, but the ball struck the post. In a bit of a stroke of luck and good positioning, the rebound bounced free and the sophomore from Sanford, Florida was the first to the ball and had a simple finish to registered the third Hatter goal of the contest [3-1].
Embry-Riddle had three shots over the final 14 minutes, but Smith did not appear troubled by any attempt as Stetson took the 3-1 victory.
"I think we had a really good defensive performance," Zinck said about the team's performance following the match. "They scored on a really good shot and that is hard to defend, but other than that we had a good attacking performance [too]. I think we're building a lot of momentum into the season."
Stetson men's soccer hits the road and the air, flying to the west coast for a match against UC Riverside with kickoff scheduled for 10 p.m. EDT.
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