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Panthers Salvage Tie in Season Opener

Photo credit: James Ragan Photography – Keira McCarthy scored both goals for the Panthers on Friday.


The Florida Tech Women’s soccer team had two quick answers after giving up goals to Montevallo Falcons on Friday, but 110 minutes of soccer, a 90-plus minute rain delay and over four hours didn’t solve a thing, as the two teams played to a 2-2 tie in their opening match of the season.

The defending Sunshine State Conference champion Panthers squared off with the Falcons in the first game of the CSU Collegiate Invitational in Columbus Georgia.

Keira McCarthy scored both goals for the Panthers, both coming just after Montevallo scored to take the lead. McCarthy’s first goal was assisted by Maria Munoz and redshirt freshman Sara Carroll got the helper on the second one.

FIT (0-0-1) had an early chance, as last season’s leading scorer Munoz rifled a shot off the left post 7:39 into the game. After that, The Falcons got the better of the play in the half, but Florida Tech freshmen goaltender Maria Sanchez Recuer was up to the task, making four saves in the first 45 minutes.

FIT had a bit of a scare in the 17th minute, as a deflected ball almost resulted in an own goal. Their best chance against Montevallo goalie Annie Mason came 26:04 in when sophomore Macey Hedelund took the Panthers only corner kick of the half and got it into the box where Carroll headed it into the hands of Mason.

Sanchez Recuer came up with a big save at the 31:25 mark, keeping the game scoreless and the two teams went into the halftime break, 0-0.

Munoz took two of the three shots in the first half for the Panthers, with Carroll getting the other. The Falcons took six shots, four on goal. They also had seven corner kicks in that first half, but couldn’t find the back if the net.

The break was just what the offenses needed, as it took Montevallo just 2:20 to break the ice. Samara Lino took a feed from Melanie Stevens and she beat Sanchez Recuer with a shot just inside the right post, giving the Falcons a 1-0 lead.

On the ensuing Panthers possession, Munoz, who had six goals and three assists last season, found McCarthy, who went to Mason’s right and got it by her, tying the game at one at the 48:24 mark, just 1:04 after Montevallo opened the scoring.

McCarthy and Munoz had good opportunities in the 54th and 56th minute respectively, but both came up empty. With 19:50 to go in the contest, the referee called for the second water break of the day and just as that was wrapping up, there was lightning in the area and the game was delayed for over 90 minutes.

When play resumed, the Falcons swooped in and took the lead on a goal from Melanie Stevens at the 77:23 mark. It took McCarthy just 40 seconds to answer, as she took a great pass from Carroll and booted it into the upper right-hand corner, tying the game at two.

Redshirt freshman Elisabeth Stoffel and junior Brittany Etrick took decent shots about two minutes apart for the Panthers late, but neither was able to get it past Mason. They both had chances early in the first overtime as well but came up empty.

The Panthers best chance was with 3:44 left in the first overtime when McCarthy used her speed to leave her defender in the dust, but she wasn’t able to get much on it and it was easily gobbled up by Mason.

Early in the second overtime, Veronica Thordardottir was tripped up about 25 yards from goal and she was awarded the kick from there, but it went high. With that, the Panthers had to settle for a tie to open the season.

For more info: Florida Tech @ Montevallo Box Score 

After being dominated in shots for much of the game, FIT ended up with a 17-15 advantage overall and a 9-8 edge in shots on goal. McCarthy took six shots, five on goal and Munoz had four, none on goal.

Sanchez Recuer made six saves for the Panthers and Mason had seven for the Falcons.

Montevallo (0-0-1) did hold a decided advantage in corners, 13-4.

The tournament continues Sunday, with the Panthers taking on West Florida at 9:30 a.m.