LAKELAND, FL - Dani Bursinger scored just 11 seconds into the first half, and Florida Southern College women's lacrosse struck for six goals in the opening 10 minutes of a 23-6 dismantling of Rollins in the semifinals of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament semifinals on Friday at Moccasin Field. The Moccasins (18-1) left no doubt as they jumped on the Tars (14-4) early to advance to the SSC Tournament title game for the fourth-straight season.
Emily Santoli led Florida Southern with six goals and four different players tallied hat tricks for the Moccasins, who exacted revenge on Rollins after falling to the Tars in the regular season.
The Mocs will face No. 2 seed Florida Tech in Sunday's championship game, which is slated for a noon start at Moccasin Field. The Panthers defeated Tampa, 20-8, in the first semifinal matchup on Friday. Florida Southern and Florida Tech also squared off in last year's SSC Championship contest, with the Mocs winning 20-12.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern set the tone early as Bursinger won the opening draw, raced down the field, and buried her first shot in the back of the net just 11 seconds into the first half to give the Mocs a 1-0 lead. Rollins would answer with a goal of its own just over a minute later to tie things at 1-1, but the Moccasins answered with five-straight goals over the next eight minutes to take a 6-1 lead at the 20:27 mark of the half.
• The Tars were able to get back on the board on a free-position shot with 18:42 on the clock to pull within four (6-2), but Florida Southern slammed the door shut in emphatic fashion by scoring the next seven goals to build a 13-2 lead with just over 11 minutes to go in the first half. Rollins scored two more times in the first half, but FSC took a commanding 16-4 lead into the locker room.
• In the second half, the Mocs did not let up as they outscored Rollins 7-2 over the final 30 minutes of action. Florida Southern dominated every phase of the game, outshooting the Tars 35-17 and winning 21-of-30 draw controls. In addition to her game-high six goals, Santoli also tallied four draw controls and three groundballs. Meghan O'Brien finished with eight total points on five goals and three assists, scoring on all five of her shots. Bursinger added three goals and 10 draw controls, while Shannon Gilfedder scored three times and Casey O'Brien tallied a pair of goals.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 8-4 all-time against Rollins, including 2-1 when facing the Tars in the SSC Tournament. The Moccasins are now 6-1 all-time in the conference tournament, including a perfect 4-0 in semifinal games.
• The Mocs' 17-goal margin of victory is its largest ever in the series against the Tars, and its largest ever in an SSC Tournament game. In addition, the 23-6 final is also the largest margin of victory for any team in an SSC Tournament contest and sets a record for the most goals scored in a conference tournament game.
• Florida Southern will face Florida Tech in the SSC Tournament Championship game at noon on Sunday. The Mocs have won each of the past two SSC Tournament championships.