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Florida Southern Ends Panthers Season

Mollie Kaplan scored four goals in the Panthers loss to Florida Southern in the SSC Semifinal. Lou Marinacci - Pictures of Motion

The Florida Southern Moccasins used a 14 goal first half to put away the Florida Tech Panthers early in Thursday night’s Sunshine State Conference Semifinal in Lakeland. The Moccasins won the game 20-7.

Mollie Kaplan led the Panthers with four goals, but the Florida Southern offense was just too much for the young Panthers, as the Mocs’ put 25 of their 34 shots on goal. FIT goalie Chloe Zador made five saves.

Aubriana Benedetto scored four goals for Florida Southern, while Riley Bannatyne had three goals and an assist. Marina Jozokos also finished with four points.

Kaplan got the Panthers on the board 1:12 into the game, but the lead was short-lived as the Mocs’ went on a seven-goal run. Sam Schiano, who was hurt in Saturday’s win over Saint Leo started this game, and scored the Panthers second goal of the night, with 18:18 left in the first half.

It took just 17 seconds for Grace Glinecki to get that goal back, and she added another a couple of minutes later, to put the home team up 9-2. They would score two more before Alexis Townsend put one home to make it 11-3 with 10:24 to go in the half.

Florida Southern (16-2, 5-1 SSC) would score the final three goals of the opening stanza, and take a 14-3 lead into halftime.

As they did in the first half, the Panthers drew first blood with a goal from Kaplan 51 seconds into the second. After Benedetto answered, Kaplan got her hat-trick with 22:23 to go, making it a 15-5 game.

After two more Florida Southern goals, Kaplan would get number four with 14:00 left in the game. That made it 17-6. Julia Couch tallied for the Mocs’ before Brittney Embree got the final tally for the Panthers, with 6:23 to go. That made it 18-7, only to see Florida Southern tack on two more.

For more info: Florida Tech @ Florida Southern Box Score (SSC Semifinal) 

A big difference in this game came on the draw controls. The Moccasins held a 21-8 advantage in that category, while groundballs were even at 13. The Panthers did turn the ball over 18 times, while FSC had 14.

Florida Tech (7-9, 2-4 SSC) will now look ahead to the 2020 season, as the Panthers look to build on what was a very encouraging first season for coach McKenzie Rafferty and her young squad. We would like to take this time to thank coach Rafferty for all of her time during this season, as she allowed us countless interviews, making our coverage as good as it could be.

Good luck to the Panthers seniors in their future endeavors. We look forward to covering the team next season.