LAKELAND, FL - Florida Southern College women's lacrosse raced out to 6-0 lead and never looked back as it topped No. 2 seed Florida Tech, 20-12, to win its second-straight Sunshine State Conference Tournament championship.
The No. 4 Moccasins (18-2) stormed out of the gates with six goals in the opening five minutes of play to bury the No. 6 Panthers (13-3) in an early hole, and never let up en route to a record-setting 16th-straight victory.
Florida Southern will now wait to find out its NCAA Tournament fate. The 2017 NCAA Division II Women's Lacrosse Selection Show takes play at 8 p.m. on May 7, and can be seen by visiting www.NCAA.com.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Less than a minute into the game, Kendall Kerge took a pass from Emily Santoli and scored her first of seven goals to get the Mocs on the board first. Cayla Shawfield, Meghan O'Brien and Santoli would each tack on a goal in a one-minute span as Florida Southern took a 4-0 lead with 27:05 to play in the first half.
• Kerge scored her second goal on a free-position shot with 26:37 left, and Santoli scored her second goal from a free-position less than a minute later to make it 6-0. Florida Tech finally got on the board when Sam Schiano found the back of the net with 21:41 on the clock.
• The Mocs maintained a comfortable lead until late in the first half, when the Panthers went on a 4-0 run to make it 9-7 with just under five minutes to go. However, the Moccasins would outscore Florida Tech 4-1 over the final five minutes of the half to take a 12-8 lead into the locker room.
• Florida Southern scored the first three goals of the second half to push its lead to seven (15-8), and the Panthers never really threatened again as the Mocs struck five more times in the second half to make the final 20-12.
• Florida Southern outshot Florida Tech 31-27, won 24-of-33 draw controls, and collected 18 ground balls to 14 for the Panthers. The Mocs also caused nine turnovers and held Florida Tech to 3-of-7 on free-position shots.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 5-1 all-time in the SSC Tournament, including 2-0 against Florida Tech. The Moccasins also moved to 5-0 all-time against the Panthers. The victory gave the Mocs their 16th-straight win of the season, breaking the previous record of 15-straight wins and setting the best single-season win streak in school history.
• Kerge finished with nine points on seven goals and two assists, breaking her own record for total points in an SSC Tournament game. She had eight in last year's semifinal win over Tampa.
• Shannon Gilfedder tallied eight points on four goals and four assists. Her assist total is tied for the second most in a conference tournament game. Meghan O'Brien tallied six points on three goals and three assists. Sam Keesey and Meghan Vadala each had three caused turnovers, while Keesey and Parrisa Sakinejad picked up four ground balls apiece.
• Dani Bursinger won 12 draw controls, while Cayla Shawfield finished with two goals and Casey O'Brien added a goal of her own.
• Florida Southern had five players named to the SSC all-tournament team (Bursinger, Kerge, M. O'Brien, Sakinejad and Santoli). Kerge was named as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after scoring 10 goals and dishing out four assists in two games.
• Florida Southern will likely host one side of the NCAA Division II South Regional, which would take place at Bryant Stadium on May 12-13. The NCAA Division II National Championship will be held in Bloomsburg, PA on May 19 (semifinals) and 21 (championship).
• The NCAA Division II Women's Lacrosse Selection Show takes place at 8 p.m. on May 7, and can be seen by visiting the championship central page at NCAA.com.