Florida Tech Panthers Shutout Rattlers, Claim 2-0 Victory
By Florida Tech // September 4, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech set the tone in Thursday night’s match in Texas, and hopefully laid the foundation for a promising season to come.
Able to control possession for much of the game, the Panthers captured a decisive 2-0 opening victory over Saint Mary’s (Texas) to give head coach Dustin Smith the first win of his career.
“It’s exciting, of course, as well as a bit of a relief,” said Smith.
“Once that final whistle blew, though, I was already starting to think about that next game and what we needed to improve upon.”
The Panthers opened up the scoring in the 31st minute, as Ali Tebo sent a Christina Aubrey cross into the back of the net. The goal already equals the senior’s total output from a season ago.
“I think it shows that it’s a total team effort,” said Smith on the offensive contributions from both Aubrey and Tebo.
“For us to have success throughout the course of the season, we’re going to have to get some scoring from other players on the team, no matter where they come from. Being able to do that certainly lifts the girls’ spirits and lets people know we’re able to have a balanced scoring attack.”
Still up just one, forward Aubri Williamson doubled the Panthers’ lead in the 60th minute when she beat the keeper on a strike from about 20 yards out. Including the preseason, Williamson has now scored in three consecutive contests to begin 2015.
Smith proved he’s not afraid to go to his bench, either, using a combination of 19 different players in the win. The depth advantage clearly paid dividends and eventually wore down the Rattlers. Overall, Florida Tech outshot Saint Mary’s (Texas) by a comfortable 20-9 margin, limiting the home team to just two shots on frame.
“Well I think that’ll be determined as the season progresses,” Smith said when asked about the frequent substitutions.
“Some of the girls still aren’t fit and others aren’t totally healthy. We’re going to use different strategies from game to game, but it’s great to know that we have the depth. A lot of girls are getting experience too, which is the most important thing.”
Expected to be one of her more relaxed matches of the year, keeper Julia Kantor needed just one save to preserve the clean sheet.
It may only be one win in the books, but FIT will definitely be riding some momentum into its clash with defending Heartland Conference champion St. Edward’s Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.
“It’s a good feeling,” said Smith. “I keep telling the girls our motto is ‘Whatever it takes’. Attention to detail has been a big focus of ours. We’ve been working on attacking and finishing in the final third, and that helped us produce both goals today. It’s all promising moving forward and I’m happy to see it.”