The Florida Tech Panthers, who came in as the sixth-seed, will play for the Sunshine State Conference title on Sunday, after coming away with a 1-0 upset of the second seed Barry Buccaneers on Friday at Nova Southeastern. Taylor Eller scored in the 17th minute of the match and it was enough to carry the Panthers to victory. The loss snaps Barry’s seven-game win streak.
The Panthers will play the winner of the Tampa/Nova Southeastern game, which was played later on Friday night. Nova came in as the #1 seed and thus got to host the tournament.
The victory snaps the Panthers two-game postseason losing streak to the Buccaneers. Barry beat Florida Tech in the quarterfinals of this tournament last season and in the semifinals in 2015. Barry had only been held without a goal in two previous games, those resulted in ties. This was the first time they lost a match without scoring a goal.
Karlyn Prisco did what she dies in goal for the Panthers, making some big saves and keeping a very determined Barry team off the board, particularly in the second half when the Buccaneers spent the vast majority of their time in the offensive third of the field.
Prisco had 10 saves in the regular season meeting between these two teams on October 14. Mollie Sharpe’s overtime goal was the difference in that one.
Barry outshot the Panthers 13-5, including 7-2 in shots on goal. One of those two shots by the Panthers came at the 16:18 mark, when Eller launched a shot that went off the post and ricocheted in, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Barry 9-3-2 (7-1-2 SSC) had their chances throughout, taking four corner kicks in each half and getting the best of the offensive possession, but the Panthers defense, along with Prisco, made that goal stand up. Defender Kiana Zanganeh deserves a lot of credit, as she cut off some decent chances for Barry before they got to Prisco.
Florida Tech (9-7-2) had a great chance to get an insurance goal as the second half was winding down. Kellie Krygier sent a nice cross into the box that Brie Heitz got a great look at, but her shot hit the post.
Barry did not go down without a fight, as they kept the pressure on, especially late. Their best chance came with just over 10 minutes left, Amanda Traynor found Carissa Sanchez but Sanchez shot hit the post.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Barry Box Score (at Nova Southeastern)
Sunday’s championship match is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.