Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown

Fourth-ranked Eastern Florida State opened the season with a shutout on Thursday, beating Southwestern Illinois College 2-0 at the Titan Soccer Complex.

Freshman Paula Garrido and sophomore Josephine Montiero got the Titans goals, while sophomore goalie Kiera Gibson ended the night with a clean sheet.

For Eastern Florida State College Head Coach Jeff Carr, this was his final opening night on the bench.

“I really didn’t think about it much, Carr said about his final opening night. “I was more concerned with how we played. Fortunately, we won the game, but I never really thought about it being my last first game.”

Garrido got the Titans on the board with a goal, as she took a nice feed from Morgan Miller, and put it past Blue Storm goalie Bailey Bosler with 31:30 left in the first half.

“She broke their defensive lines and went in on a breakaway,” said Carr. “Her first collegiate goal. It was a great opportunity for us to get on the scoreboard, and at the same time, it was the winning goal.”

Montiero’s goal came with 3:43 left in the first half, as she crossed Bosler and easily put it in the back of the net.

The second half saw the Titans dominate possession, but they were unable to tack anything else on. Despite the win, Carr was not happy with the way the team played, focusing mainly on the defense.

“We were really sloppy in the back, and we need to put away our chances,” he said. “We were able to create some chances, but we were not able to finish them.”

Gibson was stellar between the pipes for the Titans. She was not called on a whole lot, but when she was, she came up big.

“Kiera a couple times really had to save us,” said Carr. “We were again sloppy, gave up a ball in front of her own 18, and she made two unbelievable saves for us to win the game.”

One of those saves came with 32:55 to go in the game when she knocked the ball down with one arm and kept it from making it to the goalmouth. She also had impressive saves with 11:25 to go, and a final one with 9:45 left.

Sophomore Emily Bodi left the game with 3:56 to go. No update was immediately available.

The Titans will host the Florida Tech Panthers on Sunday in an exhibition match at Titan Soccer Complex, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The team will then head to Kansas for a couple of top 10 showdowns, going up against eighth-ranked Butler Community College on August 31 and facing fifth-ranked Navarro College on Sept. 2.

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