MELBOURNE, FL - Shannon Gilfedder and Emily Santoli each tallied a hat trick in the first half to help lead Florida Southern College women's lacrosse to a 15-11 win over No. 5 Florida Tech on Saturday at Panther Stadium in the Sunshine State Conference opener for both teams. The No. 1 Moccasins (10-0, 1-0) scored 11 first-half goals and fended off a late rally by the Panthers (9-1, 0-1) to remain perfect on the season and continue their dominance of the Sunshine State Conference.
Leading 11-6 after the first half, the Mocs started off slowly in the second period as Florida Tech scored the first three goals of the second half to cut the deficit to just two (11-9). However, the Moccasins limited the Panthers to just two goals over the final 23 minutes of action and scored four times in the last 16 minutes of the game to take down yet another ranked foe. Florida Southern has now defeated five top-25 opponents this season, including four top-10 teams and two top-five squads.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern wasted no time getting on the board first as Gilfedder took a pass from Santoli and fired one past FIT goalkeeper Stephanie Stuart just 32 seconds into the game. The Panthers answered back with their first goal just nine seconds later, but the Mocs responded with three-straight goals to jump on top 4-1 at the 19:43 mark of the half. Gilfedder scored FSC's first three goals, while Marina Jozokos put one home with 19:43 to go in the first.
• Florida Tech responded to the scoring run with a pair of goals to slice FSC's lead back to one (4-3) and trailed just 5-4 with 11:08 to go. That's when the Moccasins found their groove on offense and ripped off four-straight goals in a four-minute stretch to grab a 9-4 lead with 6:03 left in the opening period. Both teams would score twice more in the first half to make it 11-6 at the half in favor of the Florida Southern.
• The Mocs looked like they might be in trouble when the Panthers scored the first three goals of the second half to make it 11-9 less than seven minutes into the period. But Florida Southern again responded as Sarah Grady and Meghan O'Brien went back-to-back to push the lead back to four (13-9). Florida Tech was able to pull within three on two more occasions in the game, but Dani Bursinger put the nail in the coffin with a goal on a free-position shot with just over a minute left to play.
• Gilfedder, O'Brien, and Santoli each scored three times, while Santoli tallied two assists and Gilfedder notched one. Bursinger and Jozokos each had two goals, while Grady and Shannon Mazza scored the other two for the Moccasins. Bursinger finished with 10 draw controls, while Sam Keesey tallied a team-high five ground balls and four caused turnovers. Alanna Zambetti made 11 saves in goal to pick up her fourth win of the year.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 7-0 all-time against Florida Tech and 13-0 all-time in SSC regular-season contests. The Moccasins improved to 32-16 all-time against ranked opponents and defeated their fifth ranked opponent of the year (Adelphi, Florida Tech, McKendree, Mercy, Queens).
• The Mocs outshot the Panthers 39-25 and won 18-of-26 draw controls. Both teams picked up 32 ground balls and completed better than 70.0 percent of their clear attempts, but the big difference came on free-position shots as Florida Southern converted 6-of-12 attempts and Florida Tech converted just 3-of-10.
• Florida Southern will take on Tampa at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Moccasin Field. The game will come during the Moccasins' gameday takeover of the NCAA Lacrosse Instagram account, which can be found on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ncaalax/@ncaalax. Begining that morning, junior attacker Casey O'Brien will give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the day of the life of a student-athlete during gameday. The Mocs will give fans an inside look at their daily routine of classes, meetings, meals and other activities leading up to the game.