MOC loses opener to Florida Southern
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 2, 2011 1:47 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- A second-half offensive surge paid dividends, but it couldn't provide the big payoff -- a season-opening victory for the Mount Olive College men's soccer team Thursday evening.
Jovaughn Howard notched the eventual game-winning goal in the 52nd minute, which helped Florida Southern claim a 4-3 victory at Amon Field.
The loss spoiled the debut of MOC head coach Godfrey Miller.
"I'm pleased with the effort," said Miller. "It was a tough loss, but I liked the way the guys battled back."
Frank Boateng pulled the Trojans to within 4-2 in the 68th minute. The Moccasins (1-0-0 overall) failed to clear a corner kick and the senior midfielder capitalized on the error with a quick strike between FSC keeper Charlie Craig and the near post.
MOC struck again roughly 12 minutes later.
Junior forward Alex Rodriguez ran onto a loose ball outside the 18 toward the far sideline and flicked a pass toward Vieux Sarr. A senior forward from Raleigh, Sarr easily collected his second goal of the evening and the Mocs' margin was 4-3.
"We picked up our game a little bit better than the first half as far as what we wanted to do, keep the pressure on and attacking on the goal," said Miller. "A lot of that (energy) came from our fitness training we've been doing the past two weeks."
MOC lost Vince Fluellen Jr. around the 10-minute mark after a hard collision near midfield. The senior defender from Morehead City sustained a right knee injury and cut near his mouth, and did not return.
The Trojans needed the rest of the half to sort themselves out defensively and struggled to slow down the Moccasins' fast-break style offense. FSC tallied three goals within a 14-minute span and led 3-1 at intermission.
"After Vince went down defensively, we kind of fell apart because we had a freshman (Tanner Tolston) in there who was not so sure (of his responsibility)," said Miller. "He got thrown into the mix. Tanner is a great kid, good athlete and it took him a little while to settle in and understand what he needed to do."
Howard scored off Zach Hofstetter's second assist to help preserve the Mocs' second straight season-opening win over the Trojans.
Florida Southern owned a 20-8 edge in shots.
Trojan keepers Kyle Lavender and Rob Gray combined for nine saves.