WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Women’s Soccer) – In an up and down match Tuesday night, the Panthers were able to squeak a win
out in the last two minutes. With just 1:30 left in the match freshman midfielder Alyssa Esposito placed a nice cross in
front of the goalkeeper that allowed freshman midfielder Ali Ronk to get an assist for sophomore
forward Teresa Brantley
to score the go ahead goal in the 1-0 win. Coming off a challenging road trip over the weekend, the Panthers were forced to play another away game
less than 48 hours after arriving in Florida. Despite three games in five days in two states the team showed its resilience as well as physical
conditioning against the Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish. The Panther defense continued its strong play since the beginning of the season, but Florida
Tech did start off slow according to head coach Fidgi Haig.
“We were asleep for the first 20 minutes, but our keeper made some key saves to keep us in it,” Haig said. Sophomore goalkeeper Melissa Pyles made five saves to earn
the shutout victory. Once the defense regrouped, the Panthers found themselves with plenty of scoring opportunities in which they just couldn’t
convert. At the half Haig left the team sitting in silence hoping internal leadership would emerge. “This was a game where they just have to figure
it out for themselves,” Haig said. “They need to step up and take ownership.” Haig wasn’t disappointed. He praised the leadership of sophomore
defender Rachel Devlin,
who was vocal throughout the entire match. In the second half the rest of the team joined in to encourage each other. It paid off as they forced
even more scoring opportunities that fell just short. Freshman midfielder Sara Lewis, whom Haig praised for her
play along with that of Brantley and freshman defender Kelli Ragan, kicked a shot that caught
the inside of the top-right crossbar. Shortly afterward, Ronk applied more pressure to the Sailfish goalie but could not score. Later freshman defender
DeeDee Newland dribbled
into a one-on-one situation with the goalie that just missed. The Panthers took an overwhelming lead in shots gaining a 20-7 edge and forcing 12
saves by the Sailfish keeper. The match continued in that fashion until Brantley scored.
“It was another learning experience for a young team,” Haig said. “I’m glad they came out with the win.”
Florida Tech will take a well-deserved break before the team’s next match against Flagler in Melbourne on Wednesday, September 19.