Florida Tech Panthers Lose Early Lead To Saint Leo At Home, Fall 3-2

By  //  September 22, 2016

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Florida tech (5-2, 1-2 SSC)

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After getting off to a quick start, the Florida Tech women’s soccer team (5-2, 1-2 SSC) was unable to protect its early two-goal lead against Saint Leo (5-1, 3-0 SSC) on Wednesday night, as the Lions registered three unanswered goals, including two in the final 12 minutes, to escape with a 3-2 victory at Rick Stottler Field. (FIT Image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – After getting off to a quick start, the Florida Tech women’s soccer team (5-2, 1-2 SSC) was unable to protect its early two-goal lead against Saint Leo (5-1, 3-0 SSC) on Wednesday night, as the Lions registered three unanswered goals, including two in the final 12 minutes, to escape with a 3-2 victory at Rick Stottler Field.

Dustin Smith

Dustin Smith

“Tonight’s game was another tough matchup against a high scoring offensive team,” stated head coach Dustin Smith.

“I thought we did a great job getting on them early and putting two goals away in the first 15 minutes, however, we missed a couple good opportunities to increase the lead to 3-0 which came back to haunt us, ultimately.”

Keira McCarthy put FIT on the board right off the opening kickoff. The sophomore intercepted a pass deep in the Lions’ zone, scooted by her defender and fired a shot past SLU’s Julia Ortiz to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead just 12 seconds into the game.

Eva Banton

Eva Banton

The Panthers’ advantage increased in the 11th minute when Eva Banton received a Ciera Misner free kick in the Lions’ zone and tapped it over to Elin Svensson, who knocked it by Ortiz to extend her team’s lead to 2-0.

FIT’s two-goal advantage would not last long as Arielle Kabangu answered for the Lions at the 20 minute mark, off an assist by Natalie Melillo, to cut the their deficit in half.

The score would remain 2-1 until the 78th minute when SLU’s Katie Waddell headed-in the game-tying goal, from a free kick by Selena Jaimes.

As we they entered the late stages of the match, both teams began to move players forward to try and create a late scoring opportunity. The strategy was successful in getting the Panthers several chances near the end of the game but none found the back of the net.

The Lions, however, were able to capitalize on their opportunity. With less than five minutes left on the clock, Kabangu collected a pass from Rakeisha Sealey, dribbled by an outstretched Karlyn Prisco and then scored her second goal of the night for the eventual game-winner.

Both FIT and SLU finished with 11 shots in the contest, while the Lions held a 6-2 edge in corner kicks. Aubri Williamson accounted for four of the Panthers’ shots in the match, including one that rocked off the cross bar late in the second half that would have given the Crimson & Gray the lead.

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“Saint Leo battled hard and outworked us in several key areas for the better part of the last 20 minutes of both halves and proved if you can score you can win,” said Smith.

“We have to have short term memory as the season doesn’t get any easier with Rollins on deck. They were ranked No. 6 in the latest poll and are the top team in our Region. A good result against them would put us back in the mix.”

Florida Tech will travel to Winter Park, Florida on Saturday, Sept. 24 to square off with Rollins at 7 p.m. ET at Barker Family Stadium.

Live coverage, courtesy of Rollins, will be available at FloridaTechSports.com.


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