Photo: Mollie Kaplan – Credit: Lou Marinacci – Pictures of Motion
The 23rd-ranked Florida Tech Panthers lacrosse team hosted the No. 20 Saint Leo Lions in a Sunshine State Conference clash. A big first half saw the Lions reel off eight straight goals and nine of 10, leading to a 19-6 victory.
Florida Tech was outshot 31-22 and turned the ball over 14 times to Saint Leo’s 10. Tech was 9-for-10 on clears, while the Lions went 14-for-17. The groundballs went in favor of Saint Leo, 19-8.
Mollie Kaplan had two goals on the day for the Panthers. Fiona McLaughlin led the Lions with six, Delaney Chrisco had four, and Ashlee Wilsynski ended the day with a hat trick.
After waiting 381 days the Panthers were back on home turf and got off to a good start with a goal by Alexis Townsend to make it 1-0 2:15 into the game. That came shortly after Saint Leo had a goal disallowed.
After Chrisco and McLaughlin made it 2-1 Saint Leo, Caroline MacLeod knotted things up at two with a tally. Chrisco and Kaplan would then trade goals, making it a 3-3 contest.
That was when Saint Leo (1-2, 1-1 SSC) kicked it into high gear against Florida Tech freshman goalie Emily Harris. McLaughlin and Lia Lamendola scored twice in an eight-goal run. Chrisco had one, Wilsynski scored one and had an assist. She also hit a post.
Kyla Vendemia scored with five seconds left in the first half to break up the Saint Leo run and the Panthers gained a bit of momentum, trailing 11-4 at the half.
Florida Tech (0-3, 0-2 SSC) have struggled in the first half, being outscored 33-7 in the first 30 minutes over their first three games.
McLaughlin got Saint Leo going in the second half, scoring 2:18 in, making it 12-4. Kaplan answered with a goal less than four minutes later. For Kaplan that was career goal number 94, tying her for sixth in Panthers history with Mary Gormley.
Following two more goals by the Lions, Rachel Johnson scored her seventh of the season, making it 14-6. The Lions went on to score the final five goals of the game.
For more info: Saint Leo @ Florida Tech Box Score
Saint Leo starting goalie Emma Crafton played 51:36, recording 11 saves. She gave way to Rachel Smythe to finish things out. Harris would go the distance for the Panthers, recording six saves.
Florida Tech will visit Rollins on Wednesday, March 31. It will be a 7:30 start.