The 10th-ranked Florida Tech Panthers traveled to Gaffney, SC on Sunday to take on #11 Limestone in an early season women’s lacrosse battle. On the back of an eight-point day from Courtney Lafler, the Saints got the victory, 13-9.
Sam Schiano was the leading scorer for the Panthers, registering a hat-trick. Leah Dunn added two for the Panthers and Alexis Townsend, Mollie Kaplan, Kailee O’Brien and Aleah Fjelstad recorded single tallies.
Lafler had six goals and two assists for the Saints. She took nine shots on goal against Panthers netminder Chloe Zador, who finished the day with seven saves. Limestone goalie Madison Hill made some key saves down the stretch, finishing with 11 stops.
Zador made the first save of the day on Lafler 58 seconds into the game, but Limestone kept the pressure on and had a 3-0 lead 4:15 into the game. The third goal in that run was the first goal by Lafler.
Kaplan registered the first shot of the day for the Panthers with 7:56 gone by. It was also their first shot on goal.
Lauren Chong made it 4-0 Saints, before Schiano solved Hill to get the Panthers on the board with 18:08 left in the first half. Limestone would score two more, before Dunn’s free-position goal made it 6-2. Townsend would cut the lead in half with a free-position goal of her own, with 5:35left in the first half.
With 4:08 to go, Lafler would net her hat-trick goal to make it 7-3. Schiano appeared to have the answer 38 seconds later when she beat Hill low corner, only to be assessed a yellow card and have the goal disallowed. A goal by Julia Foster moments later made it 8-3 Limestone, and they carried that lead into the half.
Lafler got her fourth goal of the day two minutes into the second half. Schiano and Foster traded goals, making 10-4 Saints.
The Panthers (1-1) then put together their best run of the game, scoring four straight. Dunn, Kaplan, and Fjelstad all registered free-position goals, and O’Brien capped the run with a goal, assisted by Alexis Townsend, who had two helpers on the day. The run also included another free-position shot by Dunn that hit the post.
With 13:24 to go, Florida Tech found themselves down 10-8. Not surprisingly, Lafler took matters into her own hands, scoring twice in the span of 1:20. She also assisted on a goal from Britannie Ouimet that made it 13-8 with 9:43 left.
Schiano would complete her hat-trick with 4:51 to go, accounting for the final goal of the game.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Limestone Box Score
Statistically, this game was evenly matched. Shots were 26 each, with both teams getting 20 shots on goal. The free-position shots were even at nine and Limestone held a 21-20 advantage in ground balls.
The Saints (2-0) were 18-of-19 on clears, while the Panthers were 12-of-16. Limestone had a 13-11 advantage on the draw and both teams turned the ball over 18 times.
Florida Tech’s game scheduled for Monday against Chowan in North Carolina has been canceled due to unplayable field conditions. They will play their home opener on Thursday, February 21st against Adelphi. The opening draw is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Panther Stadium.