The West Florida Argonauts were just too much for the Florida Tech Panthers on Sunday morning, scoring early and often, beating FIT 4-1 on the final day of the CSU Collegiate Invitational in Columbus, Georgia.
West Florida (2-0) came into the weekend ranked 10th in the country in Division II and they got a 2-0 over 2nd ranked Carson-Newman on Friday, while the Panthers were coming off a hard-fought 2-2 tie against Montevallo.
The Argos dominated possession right from the get go, spending all of the first five minutes in the attacking zone. They had one corner in the first 1:54 and three early shots. That set the tone for the day, as the Panthers did all they could to keep pace.
The relentless pressure finally paid off with 15:10 gone, when Sam Waarum took a corner and got it into the box where Florida Tech goalkeeper Maria Sanchez Recuer initially punched it out, only to see Grace Busby knock it home and make it 1-0 UWF.
UWF kept the pedal to the floor throughout the first half, as they took six shots in the first 17 minutes. It looked like they were going to double their lead at the 42:48 mark when Lee Ducharme took a shot that Kiana Zanganeh knocked off the line. She was in the right place at the right time, keeping the difference at one.
Keira McCarthy, who scored both Florida Tech goals on Friday, had the only shot on goal for the Panthers. UWF had 12 shots, six on goal. The Argos took seven corners, while the Panthers had none. Sanchez Recuer registered five saves in the first half.
To the Panthers credit, they came out charged up in the second half and 1:17 in, Macey Hedelund earned a free kick and sent it into the box, where Sara Carroll was waiting. She headed it with authority and sent it by UWF keeper Esthefanny Barreras, tying the game at one.
Maria Munoz had a good chance for the Panthers in the in the 51st minute but was forced to take an outside shot from a tough angle and she sent it wide left.
Unfortunately, the momentum was taken away from the Panthers in the 57th minute when Celine Rumpf was awarded a very questionable penalty kick. She made it count and the Argos went up 2-1.
UWF was far from done. After a turnover by the Panthers in their offensive third, Rumpf found Victoria Swift behind the defense and she was all alone, beating Sanchez Recuer, to make it 3-1.
Munoz tried to bring the Panthers to within one when she took a free kick from about 25 yards out and put it in a good spot, only to see Barreras punch it away.
The Argos turned up the heat again with shots from Swift and Elizabeth Vickers less than 45 seconds apart, the latter was again knocked off by the Panthers defensive back line. Vickers got another chance with 78:56 elapsed and she was able to put it in, giving UWF the final goal of the game.
For more info: Florida Tech @ West Florida Box Score
The Argonauts had 26 shots (12 on goal), while the Panthers managed seven, four of those on frame. Sanchez Recuer made eight saves, while Barreras was credited with three. The corner kicks went in favor of West Florida, 17-1.
Florida Tech (0-1-1) will continue their road trip Wednesday night, with a visit to Minnesota State University – Mankato. The match is scheduled to get underway at 6:00 p.m.