photo via FSC web site
LAKELAND, FL – Florida Southern College women’s lacrosse smashed visiting Florida Tech, 16-6, in the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament on Saturday at Bryant Stadium to earn its second-straight trip to the national semifinals.
The No. 4 Moccasins (20-2) picked up a program record 17th-straight win, and topped the No. 6 Panthers (14-4) for the third time this season. Florida Southern entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed in the South Region, and will face Lindenwood next Friday at 3 p.m. in Bloomsburg, PA.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Tech got on the board first when Sara Grenier put home a free-position shot just over five minutes into the first half. The Moccasins responded with an Emily Santoli free-position goal just over a minute later.
• Casey O’Brien gave the Moccasins their first lead of the game when she scored off a feed from Shannon Gilfedder with 19:12 on the clock, but the Panthers used another free-position goal to tie things at 2-2 at the 18:09 mark of the first half.
• With 15:19 to play, Kendall Kerge scored the first of her eight goals less to give Florida Southern the lead for good. Meghan O’Brien found the back of the net just 30 seconds later to make it 4-2.
• Florida Tech was able to trim the deficit to just one goal (4-3) when Aleah Fjelstad scored with 14:27 to go. The teams would trade goals again when Kerge scored her second goal at the 14:08 mark and Grenier trimmed the lead back to one with her goal with 11:12 to play in the first half.
• With 10:16 to go, Kerge put home her third goal of the game to start a 4-0 Florida Southern run to end the half and give the Mocs a 9-4 halftime lead.
• The momentum carried over to the second half, as the Moccasins extended the lead to 10-4 when Kerge scored her fifth goal of the game with 29:24 on the clock. Allie Modica would bring the Panthers within five (10-5) when she scored with just over 24 minutes left, but the Mocs ripped off six-straight goals to take a commanding 16-5 lead with 10:54 to go.
• Florida Tech would tack on a meaningless goal with less than five minutes to play to make the final 16-6.
• The Moccasins outshot the Panthers 25-19, won 17-of-22 draw controls, and caused eight Florida Tech turnovers. Florida Southern also converted 3-of-6 free-position shots.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 6-0 all-time against Florida Tech, and moved to 4-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament games. The Moccasins also improved to 63-11 all-time in home games and 26-15 when facing a ranked opponent.
• Kerge tied a career-high with eight goals. She has scored at least five goals in four different games this season, including 15 goals in the last two games. Kerge 13 goals in five NCAA Tournament games in her career.
• Emily Santoli finished with three goals and two assists, while Meghan O’Brien added two goals and an assist. Shannon Gilfedder, Casey O’Brien and Cayla Shawfield also found the back of the net, and Dani Bursinger led the Mocs with three assists. Taylor Gillis made six saves in goal to pick up her 12th win of the season.
• Florida Southern will take on Lindenwood in the national semifinals at 3 p.m. on Friday at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, PA. The winner will face either Adelphi or Le Moyne in the national championship game at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 21.
• For complete details on the 2017 NCAAA Division II Women’s Lacrosse Tournament, visit www.ncaa.com/championships.
Senior Allie Modica finished with two goals, two draw controls and a ground ball in the final game of her career. Junior Sara Grenier recorded two goals, while classmate Caroline Dunleavy and freshman Aleah Fjelstad tallied one goal, apiece. Junior Stephanie Stuart made six saves in goal.
Grenier gave FIT the early lead on a free position goal with 24:54 left in the first half. The Moccasins answered with consecutive goals by Emily Santoli and Casey O’Brien to take a 2-1 advantage with 19:12 remaining.
Dunleavy evened the score with a free position tally, but FSC responded with two more goals to make the score 4-2. Fjelstad and Grenier recorded two of the next three goals of the game to cut the deficit to 5-4. However, the Mocs scored four straight goals and carried a 9-4 edge into halftime.
After FSC increased its lead to 10-4 early into the second half, Modica got onto the board with an unassisted effort around the cage. The Moccasins ran away with it from there, scoring six of the final seven goals of the game to earn the 10-goal victory and a return trip to the NCAA Final Four.
The Panthers have much to be proud of as this accomplished season comes to a close. FIT won 14 games this year, made its first Sunshine State Conference Championship Game and debuted in the NCAA DII Playoffs in just its third season as a program.
This year will be one to remember for the Crimson and Gray, and the 2018 season is one to look forward to as the Panthers return a majority of their roster and contributors from an impressive 2017 campaign.
Fans make sure you stay up to date with the Florida Tech women’s lacrosse team at FloridaTechSports.com.