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Kaplan Hits Century Mark as Panthers Get First Win

Photo: Mollie Kaplan Credit: Florida Tech Athletics

Graduate Student Mollie Kaplan scored four goals including her 100th career tally, helping the Florida Tech women’s lacrosse team to a 19-13 win over Palm Beach Atlantic on Wednesday. It is the first win of the season for the Panthers who broke a six-game losing streak.

Kaplan also registered the only assist for Florida Tech in the game, giving her five points on a night when she went into the Panthers record book.

The Panthers (1-6, 1-4 SSC were led by Graduate Student Alexis Townsend, who found the back of the net five times. Sophomore Rachel Johnson had four goals, to go along with Kaplan’s four. Juniors Kailee O’Brien and Caroline MacLeod scored twice each, while freshmen Mille Hurt and Kyla Vendemia each scored one.

Townsend got to play against her sister Nicole, who is a sophomore attacker for the Sailfish. Nicole was held off the scoresheet but did register two shots and grab two groundballs.

The Florida Tech offensive outburst helped freshman Emily Harris earn her first career win in the Panthers’ goal. PBA took 29 shots with 20 of them on goal. Harris registered seven saves.

This game was a back-and-forth affair in the first half with McLeod and Townsend trading goals with Kiki Cinotti, who scored the first three Palm Beach Atlantic goals, en route to an eight-point night for her, including seven goals.

Anna Laskaris scored the fourth PBA goal, with Ciotti picking up the helper. Townsend would make it 4-3, before Kaplan netted her 100th career goal with 12:30 left in the first half, tying the game at four.

The Sailfish would score back-to-back goals before MacLeod and Townsend would tie the game at six as part of a four-goal run that saw Townsend and Johnson score before the half and give the Panthers an 8-6 lead at halftime. 

After the 6-6 tie, Sailfish goalie Abigal Nehring was called for delay of game, and Sarah Vernarelli took over in goal. Nehring did not return.

Johnson wasted no time getting the Panthers going in the second half, as she beat Vernarelli just nine seconds into the second half, making it 9-6. A goal by O’Brien gave the Panthers a 10-6 lead and capped a six-goal run that bridged the first and second half.

After a goal by Cinotti got the Sailfish to within three at 12-9, Florida Tech got five straight goals from Townsend, Hurt, Kaplan, Vendemia and Johnson, to widen the lead to 17-9. 

Grace Bartlinski broke up the run with her only goal of the night for the Sailfish. She is usually a huge offensive weapon for PBA and the Panthers held her in check.

Kaplan would score to make it 18-10 before the Sailfish reeled off three straight goals to close the gap to five. PBA would be called for a penalty with 2.5 seconds left, setting Kaplan up for a free-position shot. She put it past Vernarelli with one second left to complete the scoring.

For more info: Florida Tech @ PBA Box Score

Florida Tech registered 33 shots in this one, with 30 of them on net. The Sailfish turned the ball over 17 times to the Panthers 14. Draw controls favored Tech 20-12, as did free-position shots, 11-6.

The Panthers return home on Saturday to host Florida Southern in a 1:00 p.m. game.