LAKELAND, FL - Florida Southern College women's lacrosse jumped out to a big lead midway through the first half and cruised to its third-straight Sunshine State Conference Tournament title game with a 19-12 win over Tampa in Friday's semifinal round at Bryant Stadium.
The No. 4 Moccasins (18-2) entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed and did not disappoint, grabbing an early lead and never trailing to top the Spartans (6-11) for the second time this season.
With the win, the Mocs will face No. 2 seed Florida Tech at 1 p.m. on Sunday as they look to win their second-straight SSC Tournament title. The Panthers defeated No. 3 seed Rollins, 19-14, on Friday evening.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern would score twice in the opening four minutes as Meghan O'Brien was able to set up Shannon Gilfedder and Kendall Kerge, who each found the back of the net. Tampa would answer with its first goal at the 25:43 mark of the first half to make it 2-1.
• However, the Moccasins would seize control by scoring six-straight goals over the next 15 minutes to grab a commanding 8-1 lead. Kerge would score two more goals during the scoring outburst, by Dani Bursinger added two.
• The Spartans would strike three more times over the final 10 minutes of the half, but the Mocs score two goals of their own to take a 10-4 lead into the locker room.
• Tampa pulled within four (10-6) by scoring the first two goals of the second half, but Florida Southern was never really in trouble as it extended its lead to as many as eight goals on two occasions in the second half.
• The Moccasins outshot the Spartans 37-27, picked up 11 ground balls, and forced eight Tampa turnovers. Florida Southern also finished 4-of-6 on free-position shots.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 6-0 all-time against Tampa, including 2-0 in the SSC Tournament. The Moccasins have eliminated the Spartans in the semifinals in each of the past two seasons, outscoring Tampa 38-22 in the process. FSC moved to 4-1 all-time in the conference tournament, and advanced to its third-straight title game.
• Kerge and O'Brien each finished with three goals, while O'Brien added four assists and Kerge tallied two. Grace Glinecki led the Moccasins with four goals, while Shannon Mazza and Emily Santoli each added two.
• Taylor Gillis made two saves in 30 minutes in goal, while Alanna Zambetti played the entire second half and made eight stops.
• With the victory, Florida Southern extended its winning streak to 15 games, tying the school record for consecutive wins.
• Florida Southern will face Florida Tech at 1 p.m. on Sunday in the SSC title game. The Panthers are ranked No. 6 nationally, and pushed the Moccasins to overtime when the teams met in the regular season. Florida Southern used late-game heroics to snag a 12-11 victory over the Panthers on April 1.