BELMONT, NC - Casey O'Brien scored just 22 seconds into the opening half, and Florida Southern College women's lacrosse picked up its third-stright double-digit victory in a 19-9 win at Belmont Abbey on Friday afternoon at Alumni Field. The No. 4 Moccasins (15-1) score three times in the first three minutes of action and used a 5-0 run later in the first half to jump out to a commanding lead over the Crusaders (11-4) in the penultimate non-conference game of the season.
O'Brien was one of 11 different players to score for the Mocs, including six with at least two goals, as Florida Southern moved to a perfect 11-0 in non-conference games this year. The Moccasins will complete their non-conference slate with a 7:30 p.m. contest tomorrow at Lenoir-Rhyne.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• O'Brien wasted no time in getting the Mocs on the board as she took a feed from Meghan O'Brien to put Florida Southern up with 19:38 to go in the first half. Shannon Mazza would score just 40 seconds later to make it 2-0, and Shannon Gilfedder found the back of the net with 27:01 on the clock to give FSC a 3-0 lead. Belmont Abbey got on the board with 25:52 remaining, but the Moccasins answered with goals from Mazza, Dani Bursinger, and Marina Jozokos to make it 6-1 at the 22:47 mark of the half.
• The Crusaders were able to reel off a 3-0 run of their own to get back within two (6-4) with just over 19 minutes remaining in the opening period, but Florida Southern scored each of the next five goals to take a commanding 11-4 lead when Gilfedder put one home with just under 11 minutes on the clock, and the Mocs took a 12-5 advantage into the locker room at the half.
• The second half started off with yet another quick goal from M. O'Brien just 59 seconds into the period. The score spurred a 3-0 Moccasin run to start the half to make it 15-5 with 27:04 to play. After Belmont Abbey broke the run with a goal of its own at 25:12 remaining, the Mocs slammed the door shut with three more goals to jump in front by 12 (18-6), and never looked back en route to their 15th win of the season.
• Emily Santoli led all players with four goals, two of which came on free-position shots, while Bursinger, Gilfedder, Mazza, M. O'Brien, and Aubriana Benedetto each scored twice. Bursinger also finished with two assists and five draw controls, while M. O'Brien tallied four assists. Alanna Zambetti picked up the win in goal by making eight saves in the first half. Brittany Iamele played the majority of the second half in goal for the Mocs, with Mary Gately coming on late to close things out.
• Florida Southern outshot Belmont Abbey 36-24, won 19-of-30 draw controls, and made 6-of-8 free-position shots. The Mocs also went a perfect 16-of-16 on clear attempts and collected 19 ground balls to the Crusaders' 16.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 2-0 all-time against Belmont Abbey, and moved to a perfect 11-0 against non-conference foes this year. The Moccasins have won 18 straight regular-season, non-conference games dating back to last season.
• Santoli scored multiple goals for the 13th time in 14 appearances this season. She has tallied a hat trick or better in 11 different games, and increased her career goal total to 168, and needs just six more goals to pass Kendall Kerge for second all-time in Florida Southern history. Earlier in the day, Santoli was named to the midseason watch list for the Tewaaraton Award, which is given to the top male and female lacrosse players in the NCAA regardless of the division in which they play.
• M. O'Brien improved her career assist total to 104, second-best in program history, and is just the second player at Florida Southern to ever compile 100 career goals (132) and 100 career assists.
• Florida Southern will face Lenoir-Rhyne at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday before returning home to take on Palm Beach Atlantic in the regular-season and Sunshine State Conference finale on Saturday, April 21 at Moccasin Field. The Moccasins are in the driver's seat for their fourth-straight SSC regular-season title, and can clinch the conferene regular-season championship with a win over PBA on Senior Day or losses by Florida Tech and Saint Leo in any of their remaining SSC contests.