MELBOURNE, Fla.- The Florida Tech Panthers (2-3) fell 3-2 against NCAA Division II South Region opponent the University of Central Arkansas (5-0) at the
Rick Stottler Field this afternoon.
The Panthers were not able to come back after a slow first half. Tech gave up all three Central Arkansas’ goals in the first 45 minutes of the match.
Central Arkansas struck first when sophomore midfielder Lauren Carter (Plano, TX) scored her first season goal coming off the bench. The assist came from a
right sided cross from fellow reservist freshman forward Ashley Line (Pryor, OK).
UCA’s next goal played out like a mirror of the Bears’ first goal. After only two minutes separating the two points, Line came back to smack a high corner
shot in the net off the same pass she previously punted from the right side two minutes earlier. This time sophomore defender Julie Shoffstall (San
Antonio, TX) was the passer of record grabbing the assist for the Bears.
Central Arkansas final goal came at the 36th minute of play when senior midfielder Ashley Smith (Austin, TX) scored the game winner. Line once again picked
up the assist fore the Bears.
Line finished the game with two shots, one on goal, one goal and two assists.
The Panthers came back from the half ready to play controlling the ball most of the second half. Central Arkansas took 14 of the 16 shots in the first 45
minutes. All three of UCA’s goals were high corner shots, and first half keeper sophomore Erica Wales (Madison, AL) was unable to prevent the points.
Coach Haig made a decision to place freshman Julie O’Brien (Franconia, NH) in goal for the second half due to her 5-11 height. This was O’Brien first
collegiate appearance and along with the defensive line was able to shut-down the Bears attack. Tech was able to defensively keep the Bears from pushing
forward allowing only two shots and no shots on goal.
Florida Tech’s sophomore forward Ericka Hildreth scored in the 62nd minute grabbing her second goal on the season. Junior midfielder’s Miranda Tessier
(Vero Beach, FL) and Jamie Saunders (Plantation, FL) each recorded an assist off of Hildreth’s goal.
Panther’s leading scorer senior Kelli Huarte (Manteca, FL) picked up the final goal of the match in the 76th minute. Fellow senior Megan Kramer broke away
after a two on one tackle and out hustled all defenders helping draw Central Arkansas’ keeper Heather Joye (Salt Lake City, UT) out of the box and passing
the ball to Haurte for the final point.
Tech unfortunately ran out of time falling one goal shy for the tie trying to overcome a weak first half play.
The Panthers are back in action on Sunday, September 18 at noon hosting NCAA II regional opponent Montevallo at the Stottler Field.