By Tyler Wood, 

Staff Writer

The University of West Florida men’s soccer defeated conference opponent Christian Brothers University 4-1 at the UWF Soccer Complex Sunday afternoon, while the women’s soccer team remained perfect on the year, improving to 6-0-0 after defeating the Buccaneers 2-1.

In the men’s game, UWF junior Sean Hoffstatter recorded a hat trick and the Argos (3-2-1, 2-0-0 Gulf South Conference) built a 4-0 lead over the Bucs (0-4-0, 0-1-0 GSC) early in the second half that was not to be surrendered.

After leading 1-0 after the first 45 minutes, the Argos scored three goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half, all by Hoffstatter.

UWF coach Bill Elliott said he was happy with the results of the weekend and proud of the team for showing the resiliency to bounce back from an 0-2-1 start to the season.

“I think we played well the opening weekend, but the results didn’t go our way,” Elliott said. “I’m really proud of the guys for not giving up on what we were trying to do. They stayed with the things we were trying to teach and I think we saw it pay off this weekend.”

Hoffstatter, who missed a large portion of last season due to injuries, nearly tripled his goal total for the season on Sunday, going from two to five in just 15 minutes.

“I’m super happy for a player, especially one like [Hoffstatter] with his kind of work ethic,” Elliot said. “A lot of players would have given up. He had to fight through injuries. He missed all of last season, then he comes in super fit during preseason. To see him have a weekend like this, I couldn’t be happier.”

Hoffstatter credits the team’s resurgence – and his own – to hard work on both the practice and game fields, adding that the increased offensive production came from repetition and sticking with the game plan they had laid out.

“The coaches said we knew it would be a fight,” Hoffstatter said. “Once one [goal] would come, another one would come and another one. For us to keep fighting and just pushing through, and to get the result of 4-1 is nice because we deserve it.”

Hoffstatter recalled a few hat tricks he recorded while playing in high school for the Choctaw Indians in Ft. Walton Beach, but to do it at the collegiate level was a new experience for him.

“To come out here and score three goals, obviously I couldn’t do it without my team,” Hoffstatter said. “It feels great. I hope to keep going and score as many as I can for them.”

After several hours of lightning and inclement weather delays, the UWF women’s soccer team took the field against Christian Brothers, battling out 90 hard-fought minutes that ended with each team having scored just a single goal.

In the eighth minute of the 10-minute overtime period, UWF senior Grace Busby knocked in the game-winning goal, heading the ball into the net on a pass from teammate Deneisha Blackwood.

Busby said there have been days when the team has played better, so the victory required a little patience and a lot of hard work.

Senior Grace Busby sealed the victory in overtime to keep the Argos undefeated [Photo by Tyler Wood].
“I wouldn’t say we were at our best this game, so we had to work harder,” Busby said. “This was definitely a fight. My team brought it today and I’m proud of them.”

UWF coach Joe Bartlinski said the game was just another day in the Gulf South Conference, and he anticipated that a victory would have to be earned.

“When you play conference matches, at home or on the road, they’re going to be difficult,” Bartlinski said. “Christian Brothers was very serious about how they played. ”

The Argos (6-0-0, 2-0-0 GSC) showed off their stifling defense once again, holding the Buccaneers (2-2-1, 1-1-0 GSC) to a single goal. The Argos have not allowed multiple goals in a game this season, either shutting out opponents or allowing one goal in each of their six games this season.

“From the run of play we do pretty well in defending, and that’s because we have very good individual defenders,” Bartlinski said. “I think collectively we can get better, but we’re still learning our roles.”

The UWF women’s soccer team will hit the road on Friday to face GSC opponent West Georgia (2-2-2, 2-0-0 GSC) at 4:00 p.m.

“We’ll take a day off and then we’ll start more conference games as we head into West Georgia,” Bartlinski said. “I’m looking forward to it and I know that every game is just going to be difficult.”

Busby said she looks forward to the challenge of going on the road and defending the Argos’ perfect record in the 2018 season.

“I would say our mindset of this team is really strong,” Busby said. “We’re going to be a threat.”

The men’s soccer team will be back at home on Friday, hosting local rival Pensacola Christian College at 7:30 p.m. at the UWF Soccer Complex.

“If we can keep it rolling, we definitely have the attacking players to do it,” Hoffstatter said. “If we can keep it going, I could see a lot of success in the season.”