Florida Tech women’s lacrosse kept their undefeated season intact Wednesday, beating Young Harris 15-10 at Florida Tech Panther Stadium in Melbourne.
Caroline Dunleavy had four goals and four assists to lead the Panthers. She earned her 200th career point with an unassisted goal with 13:50 remaining in the game. It gave her a hat-trick at that point as well. She would assist on a Sara Grenier goal 4:06 later and she would cap her historic night, scoring the last goal of the game with 27 seconds left.
“It means a lot to me because my class was the first class ever here at Florida Tech for women’s lacrosse,” said Dunleavy of the accomplishment. “But to me, it’s not really about the points it’s about the team win so I am happy we came out with that.”
Dunleavy not only means a lot to the program, but she means a lot to Panthers coach Corinne Desrosiers.
“Caroline has been such a treasure for four years,” said Desrosiers after the game. “She’s obviously a capable lacrosse player but she has really shown as a leader on this team. She is an offensive leader, she is the captain that is vocal and can get everyone on the team to listen to her.”
“No one is ever upset about what Caroline has to say,” Desrosiers continued. “When she graduates this team is gonna lose a goal scorer, we’ll recruit other goal scorers. What we’re losing in Caroline is a coach on the field and that’s gonna hurt us the most.”
The Panthers (6-0) got goals from Sam Schiano and Mary Gormley to start the game and jumped out to a 5-2 lead but right from the start, this did not have the feel of a typical Florida Tech game. The Panthers had trouble controlling the pace and that was not lost on Desrosiers.
“We did not play our game tonight,” she said. “We came out with the mindset that we were that much better and we forced and rushed a lot of stuff and then they got frantic on offense. The defense saved our butts in the first half.
Lauren Tybor‘s second goal of the game came on the man-up, giving the Panthers that 5-2 lead, but Young Harris kept them at arm’s length when Nicole Kernohan scored with 8:40 to go, making it a 6-4 contest. Back-to-back goals by Schiano gave the momentum back to the Panthers and they took an 8-4 halftime lead.
Schiano ended the first half with a hat trick, Tybor had two goals and Dunleavy, Gormley and Kaplan each had one.
Kendra Parenteau started the second half on fire for the Mountain Lions. She scored two goals and assisted on a goal from Kernohan in the first 1:55 of the second half. All of a sudden it was an 8-7 game.
Dunleavy stemmed the tide with her second goal of the game 1:12 later, making it 9-7. That kicked off a five-goal run for the Panthers. Dunleavy assisted on Leah Dunn‘s goal with 23:08 left that made it 13-7.
“Adjustment-wise in the second half we just had to get out of our own heads,” Dunleavy said. “I think we came out a little bit stiff, but once we let go and started to play together we can break free and come out with a win like we did today.”
After Young Harris got one back, Schiano and Grenier would score consecutively, giving the Panthers a 15-8 lead.
Parenteau‘s hat-trick goal made it 15-9 but Dunleavy would assist on Grenier’s goal and then score her milestone goal. A Mollie Kaplan tally in between made it a three-goal burst and an 18-9 lead.
The Mountain Lions (5-2) would make it 18-12 with a three-goal run of their own before Grenier and Dunleavy teamed up again to stretch the lead back to seven. Young Harris cut the lead to four, scoring three goals in three minutes before Dunleavy’s final sprint down the field ended this game the only way it could end, with her scoring a goal.
Panthers goalie Stephanie Stuart saw Young Harris fire 15 shots toward her net in the second half alone and 23 overall, 18 of those were on goal. Florida Tech took 36 shots, with 29 of those on goal.
“In the second half we couldn’t get our feet in front of the drive and these kids just hit the panic button a little bit,” Desrosiers said. “It’s kind of my fault too because we have Pace coming in this Saturday and we’ve been looking at that game even though we had a few games beforehand. We’ve been looking at Pace for a week now and you can’t do that, you can’t gloss over a team. We didn’t give this team the full attention it needed and I think you saw that kind of come out tonight. We had the expectation that it was going to be an easier game and it wasn’t.”
The Panthers forced 36 turnovers but had 24 of their own. The Panthers held a slight edge in ground balls 33-28 and were 23-of-28 on the clears. Young Harris held a 9-4 lead in draw controls in the first half and ended the game with a 21-15 advantage.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Young Harris Box Score
The sixth-ranked Panthers will host 19th-ranked Pace on Saturday. The Setters moved to 2-0 on Tuesday, with an 18-16 win over Fifth-ranked LIU Post.
“I think we need to move off-ball a little bit more and hustle after the ball a little bit more when it’s on the ground,” said Dunleavy. “If we come out and play together we’ll be ready for Pace on Saturday.”
Opening draw is scheduled for noon on Saturday at Florida Tech Panther Stadium.