MELBOURNE – Over the last two weeks covering a total of four games, Florida Southern’s defense had been nearly impenetrable, allowing just two goals. During that same stretch, Florida Tech’s offense had pretty much laid an egg. Saturday afternoon, things went in a different direction for both teams, as the Panthers scored two goals in the first half to defeat the Moccasins 2-0.
Florida Tech (5-3-2, 1-2-2 Sunshine State Conference) had been shut out in three straight games prior to Saturday, which included a 1-0 loss to Rollins followed by scoreless ties with Eckerd and Saint Leo. The Panthers had a chance to end that drought early when Ashley Vezina fired a shot from inside the box three minutes into the game that Erin Moseley tipped over the crossbar, and they missed an even better opportunity at the 5:47 mark when Moseley easily saved a penalty kick taken by Carly Hunt.
After giving up the first seven shots of the match, Florida Southern (3-5-1, 1-1) got its first chance to score on back-to-back corner kicks in the 16th and 17th minutes. The second one resulted in a strong header by Caroline Evers that was wide left.
A little over two minutes later Florida Tech struck for its first goal when Christina Edwards fed the ball to Hunt in the right corner, and Hunt fired a cross back into the box for Erika Forsberg. Her running 1-touch shot slammed into the net for her sixth goal of the season and ended a streak of more than 346 minutes in which the Panthers hadn’t scored.
They scored again late in the first half when Kelly Whitaker ripped a shot from 25 yards that was on target for her fourth goal of the year.
Other than Evers’ header in the 17th minute, the Mocs’ best chances at scoring in the first half came on a couple of near 1-on-1’s. Morgan Sammons had one of them in the 27th minute, but had the ball pushed away by defender Lauren Bolhuis, and Sydney Montgomery had an even better one in the 38th minute that resulted in a shot pulled too far to the left.
The teams had to wait out a lengthy halftime when the facility was cleared for lightning shortly after the first half ended. When they returned, both teams nearly scored in the first 10 minutes. Hunt came close to giving Florida Tech a 3-0 lead less than five minutes into the second half when she hit the post from inside the box, and Danielle Hancock had a header off a corner kick stopped on the line by Forsberg who had dropped back on defense.
Evers would later pull a free kick wide from just outside the box in the 63rd minute, and Chelsea Belfer hit the crossbar from 25 yards out in the 67th minute for Florida Tech. It was one of several strong shots by the Panthers throughout the game
Overall, Florida Tech out-shot Florida Southern 24-8, but Moseley helped keep the game close for the Moccasins by making nine saves. Paige Redmon had to make only one save for the Panthers, with that coming in the 84th minute on a free kick by Kara Moore.
Florida Southern will look to rebound on Wednesday when it hosts Saint Leo at 5:00 p.m. at Barnett Field.