Panthers fall in home opener 2-1

Men's Soccer

By Alex Solana/Staff Writer

The men’s soccer team lost their home opener Friday night to Stetson University, 2-1. The loss to the Hatters drops the Panthers’ record to below .500 (1-2) for the first time this season after splitting their first two games last weekend in Michigan, defeating the Michigan Wolverines and falling to the Michigan State Spartans.

The Hatters (2-1) came out of the starting gates playing much more aggressively than FIU, scoring both of their goals in the first half, the first of which came in the 21st minute. Senior forward Ross Morison controlled a cross into the middle of the box and finished to the left corner of the goal putting the Hatters up 1-0.

It only took Stetson 17 minutes to capitalize again, this time a long shot on a breakaway by junior midfielder Eli Beates, who beat Panther defenders to a loose ball and chipped FIU goalkeeper, junior Robin Spiegel, putting the Hatters up 2-0.

The second half turned out to be a completely different game for FIU as they fought back into the game after a bullet of a shot from over 35 yards out found the back of the net for sophomore defender Juan Benedetty. Benedetty gathered a loose ball and shot towards goal, beating the Stetson keeper who had no chance at saving the teams first home goal of the season.

Down only one goal after Benedetty’s superb shot, the Panthers seemed to have all the momentum on their side as they continued to pressure the Hatters looking for the equalizer that never came, despite out shooting Stetson 23-6 on the night, nine of which were on target.

“Its always disappointing when you lose your home opener” said Head Coach Scott Calabrese after the teams loss. “I think we created a number of chances, great chances, and definitely had an opportunity to win this game. I think we have to be very smart about how we defend, and it’s difficult to win games after we concede two goals as early as we did.”

For Calabrese, this was his first home game as the new FIU head coach and there is no doubt he would have wanted a different result. Although it wasn’t the result he hoped for, he knows this loss does not define his team, which did look lost at points in the first half, but still played a strong second half and showed flashes of greatness that he hopes to see more of from his team moving forward.
Senior forward and captain Quentin Albrecht had some trouble throughout much of the match finding opportunities to strike on goal for FIU as the lone striker early on. It was a sub made by Coach Calabrese that jump started the team’s offense when he brought on senior Roberto Alterio to start the second half up top with Albrecht giving the Panthers more of an edge on the attacking side of the pitch.

“We changed our formation slightly, pushing our players higher up the field and adding another forward to support Quentin up top,” said Calabrese after he was asked what sparked the total turnaround his team displayed in the second half. He continued, “We’re going to need to experiment a little with our formation as the season goes on. Ultimately, we created more and better chances when Roberto came in and helped us quite a bit, and its definitely something we have to look at.”

One player who stood out all game for FIU and was an immediate fan favorite amongst the 500+ fans that were in attendance friday night was Senior defender Sean McFarlane. McFarlane played almost the entire 90 minutes of the game and brought energy to a Panther squad that desperately needed it after going down 2-0 early on.

“It was a very tough loss for us today. We were hoping for a bounce back win after losing to Michigan State last week, but like i told my team in the huddle this game is not going to get us down” said McFarlane.

The Panthers will now look ahead and prepare for their next game as they will travel to North Carolina to take on Elon Wednesday, Sept. 10.

Photo by Maria Lorenzino/the Beacon


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