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Eastern Florida Women, St. Louis Play to Thrilling 1-1 Tie
Aug. 29, 2013 - In soccer it's not the shots a team takes it's the shots a team makes that count.
On Thursday, on the first regular-season game on its new field on the Melbourne Campus the Eastern Florida State College women's soccer team outshot St. Louis Community College 16-3 but managed only a 1-1 tie after 110 minutes of rough-and-tumble action.
The tie brought Eastern Florida's record to 2-0-1. The game was the season-opener for St. Louis and it was a contest befitting two teams that are nationally ranked by both the NJCAA and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
St Louis, ranked ninth and 15th respectively, jumped out on top on a breakaway goal by sophomore Jessica Smugala just four minutes into the game. The Archers then held off Eastern Florida, ranked second in both polls, due in large part to the outstanding goaltending of sophomore Apolonia Thomas, who in an unusual move, played barehanded without goalkeeping gloves.
Thomas frustrated Eastern Florida time and time again until Eastern Florida freshman Jamie Perriello finally broke through with 11 minutes and 19 seconds to play in regulation on an assist from Fleming Island, FL sophomore Amanda Lodge.
"I knew the keeper was big and I had to pick a corner," Perriello said. "I just hit it on the ground and picked the right side.
"It was so frustrating at first because we just could not get one in. Finally when my goal came I knew we could win this game, but it happens."
Eastern Florida head coach Jeff Carr had similar sentiments.
"We couldn't finish," Carr said. "We had our other chances. That's the way soccer is. You can outplay somebody and lose or in this case we at least tied.
"I guess it's good early in the season to have this type of adversity and play in a close game."
Both teams had chances to win in the two overtimes, Thomas stopping Eastern Florida forward Nikki Mitchell of Toronto, Canada, at close range and Eastern Florida keeper Amy Clason-Messina, of Bend, OR, stopping a close-in St. Louis shot and then knocking another over the crossbar.
Carr also had praise for Perriello, who hails from Boca Raton.
"She was all over the field, we are fortunate to have her," Carr said. "She plays at a very high level. She was the player of the game for us."
Carr expects another tough game at 10 a.m. Sunday when Eastern Florida hosts Cerritos (CA) College the defending NSCAA Division III (non-scholarship) and California state champion.
Cerritos plays St. Louis at 5:30 p.m. Friday on the Melbourne Campus and St. Louis plays Polk State College at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to all games is free.
Thursday's home debut brought out a large, lively partisan crowd, a mix of students, parents and family who were treated to a struggle to the finish.
"We have a lot of character on this team," Carr said. "We stepped it up and started playing a lot better. In the first half we kind of played more to their style than our style.
"We settled down in the second half. We had so many chances. It wasn't meant to be tonight."