MELBOURNE, Fla. - The Saint Leo women's soccer team (6-4-1) fell to the 17th-ranked Florida Tech Panthers (12-2-0) 1-0, in heartbreaking fashion, Tuesday afternoon in non-conference action from Rick Stottler Field.
The regional contest featured 37 combined shots and 22 fouls and only one goal. Unfortunately for the Green & Gold, the one goal did not fall in their favor as Teresa Brantley struck for the game-winning, double-overtime goal in the 108th-minute. This is the second loss to the Panthers on the season. 15 of the 37 shots belonged to the Lions, including six by seniors Hannah Beard and Sara Macko. Defensively, the Lions had very few lapses as the back-four headed by Dari Alcantara and Francesca Williams played solid defense.
The first 45 minutes was fairly even, with Saint Leo taking control of the offensive end firing six shots compared to just four for the Panthers. The defense did their job, as well, holding the powerful Florida Tech offense to just one shot-on-goal.
Out of the 15-minute intermission, the Florida Tech offense began to awake peppering Lions’ keeper’ Cristina Coca with 12 shots, four of which were on goal. Still, Coca and the Lions’ defense did not break as the squad kept the game scoreless. The Lions’ offense countered the Panthers’ attack with a bit of offensive momentum of their own. The Lions fired seven shots on Melissa Pyles, forcing her to make two saves. With neither team able to find the net in regulation, the game took to a pair of golden-goal overtime sessions.
In the first overtime period, Saint Leo began to force the issue on the offensive end. The Lions, while only recording one shot in the first extra period, nearly missed ending the game in their favor, as a corner kick from Macko narrowly missed being headed in by Williams as the shot hit the left post.
Both teams were presented with opportunities in the second overtime period, but it was the opponents from Melbourne that broke through first. The Tech offense began to demonstrate its ability to create scoring opportunities late in the second overtime, firing three shots in the final four minutes. Still, it was the final shot that ended the Lions’ chances at victory. After receiving a pass from Kelli Regan, Teresa Brantley dribbled the ball to the top of the 18 yard-box. From there she settled the ball at her foot and chipped it over the head of Coca for the game-winner.
For the game, Florida Tech outshot Saint Leo 22-15 and held a 10-5 advantage in corner kicks.
Coca dropped to 3-4-1 on the season, while SLU has now dropped two consecutive games.
The Lions hit the road again on Saturday, October 24 as they join the men’s soccer team on a road trip to Nova Southeastern. The SSC contest is set to begin at 5:00 p.m. Saint Leo currently has nine points in the conference as they get prepared for their showdown with the Sharks, who enters Saturday's contest with 10 points.