MELBOURNE - Florida Southern returned to Sunshine State Conference play here Saturday afternoon by posting a 16-4 victory over Florida Tech at Palm Bay High School.
With the victory, the Mocs improve to 12-3 overall and 2-0 in the SSC, while Florida Tech fell to 9-6 overall and 1-2 in the SSC.
In Saturday's victory, the eighth-ranked Moccasins used a strong defensive effort as they caused 19 turnovers, held the Panthers to a season low four goals and held two of the top seven goal scorers in the league to a total of one goal each to extend its win streak to seven straight games.
Florida Tech's Sara Grenier and Allie Modica came into play on Saturday having combined for 68 goals on the year as Grenier was second in the SSC with 37 goals and Modica was seventh in the league with 31 goals. Both players scored their goals late in the second half on Saturday.
While its defense was strong, the Mocs offense was also strong on the day as they took 26 shots and scored 16 goals, including a combined 10 goals from sophomore attacker Meghan O'Brien (Rochester, N.Y.), junior attacker Kendall Kerge (Edgewater, Md.) and sophomore midfielder Emily Santoli (Fort Salonga, N.Y.).
For the game, O'Brien scored four goals, added a career high four assists and totaled a career high eight points, while Kerge and Santoli each scored three goals on the day.
The Mocs got the Mocs on the scoreboard first with an unassisted goal by Meghan O'Brien just a little over eight minutes into the game.
The Panthers, though, would answer a little over a minute later on an unassisted goal by Sam Schiano to tie the game at 1-all.
FSC's next two goals came within 35 seconds of each other from Santoli to give the Mocs a 3-1 lead as she scored on a free position shot with 19:38 and then added an unassisted goal with 19:03.
The Mocs lead grew to 4-1 on a goal from senior attacker Ashley Robertson (Ellicott City, Md.). The goal by Robertson was her 30th of the season and 104th of her collegiate career.
The Mocs lead grew to 6-1 following a goal by Kerge with 8:50 left and sophomore attacker Shannon Gilfedder (Longwood, Fla.) added a goal three minutes later to give the Mocs its 7-1 lead. Both of those goals were assisted by Meghan O'Brien, who leads the team and SSC with 25 assists.
FSC opened the second half by using a goal from sophomore attacker Cayla Shawfield (Oviedo, Fla.) just two-plus minutes into the half to take an 8-1 lead.
Robertson would make it 9-1 with 22:08 left in the game as she scored her second goal of the game and 31st goal of the season on a free position shot.
The Panthers would stop the Mocs run of eight straight goals with a goal by Schiano with 18:50 left in game. The goal by Schiano was her second of the game and 14th of the season.
FSC, though, came right back and used a goal 40 seconds later by Kerge off a pass from redshirt freshman midfielder Shannon Mazza (Kings Park, N.Y.) to take a 10-2 lead.
Grenier brought the Panthers within 10-3 on her goal with a little over 15 minutes left in the game. The goal was Grenier's 38th of the season, which is tied for the SSC lead.
The Mocs would push its lead to 11-3 with an unassisted goal by Meghan O'Brien with 11:37 left in the game and then used a goal by Kerge with 9:16 remaining to push its lead to 12-3. It was Kerge's fourth three goal game of the season.
Senior All-American defender Gabby Barowski (Alexandria, Va.) gave the Mocs a 13-3 lead with 8:25 left in the game and then 55 seconds later the Mocs lead grew to 14-3 on a goal by Meghan O'Brien.
Another goal by Meghan O'Brien with 5:15 left in the game gave the Mocs a 15-3 lead.
Modica would stop the Mocs scoring run with a free position goal with 4:36 left in the game to drop the Mocs lead to 15-4, before Santoli capped the game's scoring with a goal with 30 seconds left in the game.
Meghan O'Brien recorded a game and career-high eight shots, while Santoli and Gilfedder each had four shots in the Moccasin win. 24 of FSC's 26 shots were on goal in Saturday's win.
For the game, five Mocs recorded two or more caused turnovers, including senior defender Rachael Griffith (Ellicott City, Md.) causing three turnovers. FIT would finish the game by causing 11 turnovers.
Both teams finished with 10 draw controls on the day.
The Mocs also collected 24 ground balls for the game and have now had 20 or more ground balls in three consecutive games as Barowski led the way with three ground balls, while eight Mocs picked up two ground balls.
Junior Taylor Gillis (Bel Air, Md.) was strong in goal for the Mocs as she improved to 7-2 on the season as she played all 60 minutes and recorded four saves, caused two turnovers, had one ground ball and allowed four goals.
Stephanie Stuart played all 60 minutes in goal for the Panthers as she recorded eight saves, caused one turnover and collected one ground ball.
The Mocs will look to win its eighth straight game this coming Tuesday, April 19 as they return home to Bryant Stadium to host Saint Leo at 7 p.m. for Senior Night. Prior to the game, the Mocs will honor its six-member senior class in a pregame ceremony. This year's seniors are Barowski, Griffith, Kryjak, Robertson, defender Nicole Bellini (Winter Park, Fla.) and defender Grace Donovan (Boise, Id.).