WINTER PARK, Fla. – The Saint Leo women’s soccer team (9-6-1) had their 2009-10 season come to an abrupt end Thursday evening as they fell to the Florida Tech Panthers (15-3-1) 1-0, in the first round of the NCAA South Region Tournament from Cahall Sandspur Field in Winter Park, Fla.
On the evening, The Lions were outshot by the Panthers 13-11, while Florida Tech managed a 7-2 advantage in shots-on-goal. Hannah Beard was the leader for the Green & Gold as she registered six shots on the night and sophomore forward Pia Soesemann rocketed three shots in the game.
In a first half that was highlighted by missed opportunities and tremendous defense by both sides, the Lions shook off a sluggish start to mount multiple scoring opportunities near the end of the first half. Despite the production on the offensive side, it was the defense that took center stage over the first 45 minutes of action. The SLU back four, lead by the group consisting of Aija Bent-Trinder, Francesca Williams, Dari Alcantara, and Ana Davila held a mighty Panthers’ offense scoreless in the first half and did a solid job at limiting true scoring opportunities.
However, as the two teams continued to fight for an advantage on the scoreboard, each defenses continued to tighten as they broke for halftime still scoreless.
Out of the break, both teams began to ramp it up on the offensive end. Saint Leo made it a habit peppering Panthers’ goal keeper with six shots in the half and culminating with a pair of scoring opportunities from Beard.
Unfortunately, a Lions’ miscue deep inside their own territory resulted in a turnover and a scoring opportunity for the Panthers. In the 61st-minute Cristina Coca attempted to clear a ball to her right. The pass was intercepted just outside of the 18-yard box and Brittany Carnegie, who intercepted the pass, immediately ripped her initial shot on target where it was blocked. She scooped up her own rebound, dribbled to the left and sent a shot underneath a Lions’ defender and into the goal to break the scoreless affair.
Despite the goal, the Lions continued to pressure Pyles and the Panthers. Saint Leo had a golden opportunity slip through their fingers in the 69th-minute when Beard rattled a point blank shot off of the cross bar and post.
Unfortunately, continues attempts to crack the defensive armor of the Panthers, the Lions were not able to solidify an equalizer. Florida Tech concluded the contest by sending multiple clearances down the field to help run out the clock, and eliminating the Lions from post season play.
In net, Coca (6-6-1) managed to accumulate six saves, allowing only the one mistake in the second half.
In total, the Panthers had a 7-6 corner kick advantage, while Florida Tech committed 11 fouls on the evening compared to the Lions 4. The Panthers were also responsible for three yellow cautions.
The loss ends the career of three, four-years Lions as Sara Macko, Ana Davilia, and Beard dawned the Lions’ jersey for the final time.