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Eastern Florida Women Score Crucial Soccer Victory Against Polk

Sept. 7, 2013 - Eastern Florida State College's women's soccer team raced to a 2-0 lead over Polk State College on Saturday, let the Eagles back into the game but prevailed in the end in a matchup that was vital on several counts.

The Titans 4-1 victory was not only their first on their new home field on the Melbourne Campus, it also came in the first night game. And it gave the Titans a leg up in their three-game series with Florida College System Activities Association and NJCAA Region 8 foe Polk that determines which team, along with Broward College, advances to the postseason.

Polk visits Eastern Florida at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 and the Titans visit the Eagles on Oct. 15. Eastern Florida visits Broward on Sept. 27, hosts Broward on Oct. 11 and visits again on Oct. 18.

That's why Saturday's game was so crucial and for a good part of the second half was so tight.

Eastern Florida's leading scorer Jenci Villaverde scored on a breakaway in the game's opening minute and fellow forward Nikki Mitchell scored in the 39th to give the Titans 2-0 lead at halftime.

But Polk scored quickly to open the second half, Laura Resendiz beating Eastern Florida goalkeeper Amy Clason-Messina with just 2 minutes and 36 seconds off the clock to cut the advantage to 2-1.

The game was then a tense back and forth affair until Eastern Florida defender and co-captain Jess Fassnidge headed in a free kick from Kimmie Tierney in the 76th minute for the breathing room the Titans needed.

Villaverde wrapped up the scoring in the 82nd minute to give her eight goals on the season and the Titans their final 4-1 margin.

"Kimmie put a great ball in," Fassnidge said. "I just got a touch on it.

"This was big," Fassnidge added about the victory. "This just wasn't a normal game. If we lost this game it would have been really hard to get back from this. But we came out and proved a point, this is our field, yes we lost last week but that just made everyone work harder.

"Everyone gave their heart today, that's all you can ask for."

Eastern Florida head coach Jeff Carr echoed Fassnidge's assessment.

"We made it interesting when they scored early in the second half," Carr said. "Fortunately our players had a lot of character and put a couple more in the back of the net.

"We did a great job of passing the ball around. I was really pleased with our possession. It was a great job by all of us. We had a lot of contributors . . . they did a fantastic job."

Eastern Florida outshot Polk 30-3 forcing Polk goalkeeper Kayla Hanel to make 20 saves.

Next up for Eastern Florida are Friday and Saturday games against Monroe Community College and Jackson Community College respectively on Monroe's home field in Rochester, N.Y.

The next Titans home game is the Polk visit on Sept. 30.