Coming off a win in the opening game of the season against Texas A&M-Commerce on Friday, the Florida Tech Women’s Soccer squad was back at it Sunday, against West Florida in the Marriot Doubletree Panther Invitational.
Keira McCarthy scored both goals for the Panthers in a 2-1 victory over The University of West Florida Argonauts. It was a measure of revenge for Florida Tech, who had lost to the Argos in the two previous meetings. The last of those was a 2-1 loss in the NCAA tournament back in 2013.
Sunday’s game didn’t have quite the same stakes, but a regional win is certainly always nice to get early and the women did just that. The first half was scoreless, with West Florida getting the best of the offensive possession, but Florida Tech getting more scoring chances.
Florida Tech did get a good chance about halfway through, as Aubri Williamson got into the Argos end and she had a one-on-one for a time, but her shot was saved by West Florida goalie Elizabeth Bankhead. She had to come up big again with 12:25 left, as senior midfielder Kristin Howe got a good shot that Bankhead had to make a sliding save on.
Sophomore midi Kelley Johnson had a chance to put the Panthers on the board late in the half, as she used her speed to get past the defense. West Florida recovered nicely, getting people back, but it wouldn’t matter, as the ball got away from Johnson before she could get a shot off.
Both teams ended up with seven shots in the first half. Bankhead was credited with five saves, while Karlyn Prisco made three saves for Florida Tech. The Argos dominated on corners, 8-1.
The second half had some early fireworks, with Kaljit Atwal finding the back of the net three minutes in, giving West Florida a 1-0 lead. It didn’t take Florida Tech long to answer, as McCarthy showed her speed and ability, getting off a tough-angle, left foot shot that eluded Bankhead and tied things at one.
McCarthy was issued a yellow card with 12:10 to go in the second half on a hit that was purely accidental. Florida Tech did get a few more corners in the second half, but they were unable to capitalize, sending the game into extra time.
The Panthers offensive pressure was sustained in the extra period and they got a couple shots off, including one that Bankhead fumbled with about three minutes left, but with nobody in front of her, she was able to corral it before it got anywhere near the net.
The same could not be said for the shot McCarthy took with 1:03 to go. It wasn’t a particularly hard shot and Bankhead did get a piece of it, but it deflected in and just like that, the women’s soccer team moved to 2-0 on the season.
The team will now take to the road, heading to Saint Leo, to take on Christian Brothers Friday at 4:30 p.m. and West Alabama, Sunday at 11:00 a.m.
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