LAKELAND, FL - Shannon Gilfedder scored seven goals and Florida Southern College women's lacrosse overcame an 8-7 second-half deficit to top Florida Tech, 19-10, to advance to the NCAA Division II Tournament Semifinals for the third-straight year. The No. 3 Moccasins (20-1) used an 8-0 run over the final 15 minutes to blow past the Panthers (17-3) and extend their postseason run yet again.
Florida Southern looked as if it might be in trouble when Florida Tech snagged an 8-7 lead with 26:03 to play in the game, but the Mocs outscored the Panthers 12-2 the rest of the way to earn their eighth-straight win and hit the 20-win mark for the second-straight year. The Moccasins will take on East Stroudsburg in Tampa at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 18 for the chance to advance to the 2018 NCAA Division II National Championship game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• The Moccasins got off to a fast start as Gilfedder scored twice in the opening seven minutes to give Florida Southern a 2-0 lead, but Florida Tech would slice the deficit to one with its first goal of the game at the 21:05 mark of the first half. After Emily Santoli scored her first goal of the game just one minute later to push the lead back to two (3-1) the Panthers scored back-to-back goals to make it 3-3 in what became an incredible back-and-forth first half.
• Santoli would score again with just under 14 minutes left to make it 4-3, but FIT again scored two in a row to grab its first lead of the game (5-4) with 7:27 on the clock. After the Mocs tallied two-straight to go back up by one (6-5), the Panthers would tie things up with just over a minute to go in the opening period to make it 6-6 at halftime.
• Gilfedder opened the second half scoring just 36 seconds into the period to give FSC a 7-6 lead, but the Panthers again tallied back-to-back goals to make snag a one-goal advantage (8-7) with 26:03 to go. Dani Bursinger and Casey O'Brien would each find the back of the net over the next two minutes to put the Mocs back on top (9-8) with just under 24 minutes to play. However, Florida Tech again rallied to tie the game at 9-9 with 21:07 to play, but the Mocs scored two in a row to go back up by a pair of goals (11-9).
• After the Panthers trimmed the deficit to one (11-10) with 16:04 to go, Florida Southern exploded for eight-straight goals while holding Florida Tech scoreless the rest of the way. Gilfedder started the run with a goal at the 15:13 mark, while Santoli would strike for two more during the scoring run. Marina Jozokos capped things off with a goal with 56 seconds to go as Florida Southern topped the Panthers for the third time this year to advance to the NCAA Division II Semifinals for the third year in a row.
• Gilfedder finished with a career-best seven goals, while Santoli scored five and tallied three assists. Bursinger, Jozokos, and O'Brien each scored two goals, while Shannon Mazza added one and Meghan O'Brien tallied six assists. Alanna Zambetti made nine saves on the day, including several from point-blank range at crucial times in the contest.
• The Moccasins outshot the Panthers 38-30, won 21-of-31 draw controls and picked up 30 ground balls to Florida Tech's 17. The victory improved FSC's home record to 14-0 this season and marked the 26th-straight home victory for the Mocs.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 9-0 all-time against Florida Tech and defeated the Panthers for the second-straight year in the South Regional title game. The Moccasins moved to 6-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
• Gilfedder's seven goals are tied for the second-most in a single game in school history, while M. O'Brien's six assists are also tied for second in a single game. With their performances in Saturday's win, Bursinger and Gilfedder brought FSC's number of 30-goal scorers this season to five. Zambetti improved to 11-1 on the season. She went 3-0 against Florida Tech and made 30 saves this season against the Panthers.
• Florida Southern will take on No. 15 East Stroudsburg in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament at 11 a.m. on May 18 at the UT Lacrosse Stadium at the University of Tampa. The winner will play for the 2018 NCAA Division II National Championship at 12 p.m. on May 20. The other national semifinal will feature No. 2 Le Moyne and No. 11 Regis.