What a difference a year makes. Last season, the Florida Tech Panthers handed the Grand Valley State Lakers their only regular-season loss on the road to a runner-up finish in Division II women’s soccer. On Wednesday night, the Lakers avenged that loss in a big way, taking down the Panthers 8-2 in Allendale Michigan.
Reigning National Player of the Year Gabriella Mencotti came into the game with 16 goals and all she did was score four Wednesday night, leading the Lakers offensive attack that spent the bulk of their time in the offensive end.
GVSU (11-2) scored four goals on their first four shots of the night. Mencotti got things going early, scoring 2:45 into the contest. Madz Ham made it 2-0, beating Karlyn Prisco with a shot from about 25 yards out.
Mencotti found the back of the net again 3:02 later, getting open in space and giving her squad a 3-0 lead. It took just 4:12 for the Lakers to get on the board again with 28:28 left, as Gianna Parlove knocked it past Prisco, making it a 4-0 game.
Prisco made her first save of the evening with 24:10 left in the half. She was knocked down by the initial shot but scrambled to make the save on a rebound shot by Tara Lierman.
With 20 minutes left in the half, the Lakers had 11 shots overall and five on goal. The Panthers had not registered a shot to that point.
Elin Svensson changed that with 4:38 to go in the half when she fired a shot from 30 yards out that eluded Jennifer Steinaway and got the Panthers on the board. It was the first goal that the Lakers allowed in 11 games.
It took Mencotti just 42 seconds to answer, making it a 5-1 game. That score would hold at the half.
The goal by Svensson would be the only shot the Panthers could muster in that first half, as GVSU outshot them 17-1, with eight of those shots on goal. Prisco made three saves.
Tracey McCoy tried to add to the Lakers lead 3:55 into the half as she chipped a ball up in the air that Prisco got a hand on.
Mencotti got another shot a few minutes later, but Prisco redirected it with her foot and kept it out of the net.
Prisco was under siege all night, making another save on a sliding tackle against Hannah Klingermann with 36:40 to go.
Mencotti would strike again with 28:29 to go in the game, scoring her 4th of the night, upping the Lakers lead to 6-1.
At the 64:47 mark, Florida Tech coach Dustin Smith took Prisco out in favor of Michigan native Natalia Milashus. It didn’t take long for the Lakers to get to her, as Kat Giantsopoulos, who just came in moments earlier as a sub, beat Milashus to make it 7-1 with 67:17 gone in the game.
The Panthers (5-4-2) got their final goal of the night with just under 22 minutes to go. The goal was credited to Monica Zabian, but a replay showed Svensson scoring it, her second of the night. The ESPN 3 play-by-play man continued to say the goal belonged to Svensson, despite the final stats sheet showing Zabian. Either way, that made it 7-2.
Milashus played well down the stretch, making a great save on Klingermann at the 84:53 mark, jumping up to knock one over the goal frame. She made a similar save with 2:53 to go in the game on Parlove, before giving up the final tally of the night to Ava Cook on a header. That goal came with 2:25 to go.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Grand Valley State Box Score
The Panthers will look to rebound this Saturday, as they get back into Sunshine State Conference play against the Barry Buccaneers. That match is set to get underway at 6:00 p.m.
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