Panthers Refuse to Lose to Tampa Spartans

MELBOURNE, Fla. (Women’s Soccer) – Despite trailing for more than 63 minutes, the Panthers would
not go down to what head coach Fidgi Haig calls the toughest team
Florida Tech has faced all season. Thanks to an amazing goal by Florida Tech’s sophomore forward Teresa Brantley the Panthers
were able to tie the Spartan of the University of Tampa in a 1-1 match on Saturday. That puts the Panthers at 9-5-2 and 2-4-2 in the Sunshine State
Conference for the season.   In the first half, the Panthers went down 1-0 when Tampa’s Marissa Bernard received a pass from Nicole Murphy and score
in the one-on-one against sophomore goalkeeper Melissa Pyles. That, however,
was the only goal the Spartans would score thanks to stellar play by Pyles.   Early in the first period, Pyles went high to stop a laser header from
Tampa’s Shelby Kuni. In the second half, a speeding shot, also from Kuni, was no match for Pyles. She went to the ground quickly to halt the shot. She was
all over the place for the Panthers making eight spectacular saves on the day.   Florida Tech wasn’t discouraged by the deficit or the physical play
of Tampa. Tampa registered 25 fouls to Tech’s seven. The Spartans also received three yellow cards, one going to the head coach Gerry Lucey. The Panthers
played on until late in the match Brantley scored to tie it.   Tampa’s goalkeeper Shannon Aitken came out to try to stop a high cross. The cross
proved to be too high for her and just passed off her hands. Brantley found herself with the ball but her back to the goal and the Tampa players closing
fast. A tough predicament for a lesser player. Brantley, however, pulled out a bicycle kick for the score and her eighth goal of the season.   Tech
nor Tampa could score before the end of regulation, sending the match to not one, but two overtime periods. Neither team could put another goal in despite
their fair share of opportunities.   The tie seals Florida Tech’s fate for the season. Needing a win to enter the conference tournament, the Panthers
fell just short. But Haig isn’t disappointed.   “The girls left everything they could out on the field today,” Haig said. “What we’ve been trying to
do all season came together today. This match should give our young team some confidence next season.”   Haig only used one substitute in Saturday’s
match, freshman midfielder Brittany
. All Panther players were either sophomores or freshmen. They’ve used this season to gain valuable experience they can take into next
season. They will also get boosts from injured freshman forward Cara Bortz, redshirt freshman
Paula Lillsjö and any
new recruits Haig has up his sleeve.   Be on the lookout for a big jump next season from the Florida Tech Panthers.   BOX SCORE

Show More
Back to top button