Panthers Claw Lions In Women’s Soccer

By  //  September 3, 2012

Five First Half Goals Secure Victory

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Exactly two years ago to the day, Florida Tech hosted Florida Memorial in its home opener with the Panthers winning by four goals. In the 2012 version, the Panthers repeated the feat by scoring five first-half goals to rout the Lions by a score of 5-1 on Sunday at Rick Stottler Field.

Florida Tech's Chelsea Belfer scored a goal and registered an assist in Sunday's home win over Florida Memorial. (Image courtesy of Florida Tech)

“The starting lineup did very well today,” head coach Fidgi Haig said. “They moved the ball quickly, which is something we needed to prepare for our next opponent, [No. 3] Atlantic Armstrong. I thought we transitioned very well in the first 30 minutes.”

The starters did transition quickly, firing the first 18 shots of the game. Florida Tech (2-0) outshot Florida Memorial (0-1) 19-1 in the first half with the Lions only shot coming in the 42nd minute.

Freshman Erika Forsberg started where she left off in the season opener. The forward scored the game’s first two goals, giving her four goals in two games. The first goal came in the eighth minute when Carly Hunt and Forsberg worked a give-and-go just outside the 18-yard box. Hunt’s pass put Forsberg all alone for a quick strike that beat the goalkeeper to the right side.

Hunt then set up goal number two in the 25th minute. Hunt, from the left side, found Kristin Howe streaking up the middle of the field. With one touch, Howe passed it up to Forsberg for a second breakaway. Forsberg kicked it right side past the Lions’ goalkeeper to give the Panthers a 2-0 advantage.

Six minutes later, Karley O’Brien found the back of the net for the Panthers. Junior Chelsea Belfer struck a shot off of the Florida Memorial goalkeeper. The ball trickled to O’Brien standing at the goal line for a tap-in.

In the 37th minute, Freshman Ashley Vezina drove in a shot in from the left side that ricochet off the right post and found Belfer all alone for an easy goal to extend the Panthers’ lead to 4-0. The two connected again less than a minute later.

Belfer fed the ball across the box from left to right, finding Vezina for a third-straight tap-in goal for Florida Tech in the half. The Panthers took a 5-0 lead into the break.

Florida Memorial found more scoring opportunities in the second half, putting three shots on goal. The Lions’ third shot came off of a corner kick with five seconds remaining in regulation. Ayat El-Zein headed the corner into the back of the net to erase the shutout.

Florida Tech finished the game with 23 shots, 13 on goal, while Florida Memorial registered just five shots, three on goal.

The Panthers will travel to Savannah, Ga. on Friday to take on preseason No. 3 and 2011 NCAA Semifinalist Armstrong Atlantic at 5 p.m.

Florida Tech will stay in Savannah for a neutral-site matchup against Clayton State at 1 p.m. Sunday.