Header Photo: Mayara Queiroz Reis – Credit: Florida Tech Athletics
In one of the most exciting matches in recent memory, the Florida Tech Panthers beat the 22nd-ranked Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish 2-1 in overtime on Thursday, punching their ticket to Sunday’s Sunshine State Conference championship game.
Florida Tech was awarded the decisive penalty kick when the ball appeared to hit a PBA players elbow as the ball was sent in. Mayara Queiroz Reis took advantage, going high right against PBA goalie Madison Chiola, who could do nothing with it.
The Panthers were ranked fourth in the latest NCAA South Region rankings coming into this one with PBA ranked sixth. The Sailfish were ranked third coming into the SSC tournament with the Panthers ranked sixth. This was the first appearance in the conference tournament for the Sailfish, who finished with a 10-5 record, suffering only their second home loss of the season.
Florida Tech (10-2-5) won their fifth game in a row overcoming a 1-0 deficit in this one. It was the eighth overtime contest of the season for the Panthers who scored late in regulation and got the golden goal on a penalty kick 8:52 into overtime.
This was the second meeting between these two teams, as the Panthers got a 2-0 win on October 27, when the Sailfish were ranked 16th in the country.
Penalty kicks were the story of this game with PBA being awarded one in the 26th minute after a handball was called against Florida Tech in the box. Sydney Timmes took the shot against Panthers netminder Maria Sanchez Recuero and put it in a good spot, giving the home team a 1-0 lead with 25:08 elapsed.
The Panthers did have a 5-4 advantage in shots in the first half with three of those on goal. Chiola, who was named the Sunshine State Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, stopped all three shots.
The first half saw the Sailfish with the better of the play but that would flip in the second half. The possession was tilted in the favor of Florida Tech, but they were running out of time. That is until Queiroz Reis got a corner kick and sent it into the box with Marem Ndiongue in great position. She headed it by Chiola, tying the match 1-1, with 13:26 left in regulation.
Timmes would get a good chance with 3:19 left, but she missed left and that meant this one was headed for overtime.
Through 90 minutes the Panthers held a 12-8 advantage in shots with six of those 12 on goal. Sanchez Recuero made two saves for the Panthers, while Chiola was credited with five.
Florida Tech kept the momentum headed into extra time as Vilma Ferdfelt missed a great chance, sending one right through the goal mouth 58 seconds in.
Ndiongue would earn a corner kick with 2:08 left in the overtime session. She would send the ball into the box and it looked like it glanced off the elbow of a Palm Beach Atlantic defender. There was a bit of a delay but the official eventually awarded a penalty kick to Florida Tech.
The Goal. The Celebration.
— Florida Tech Women’s Soccer (@FloridaTechWSOC) November 12, 2021
With the drama building, there was a delay as both coaches argued their case and the officials huddled up before finally allowing Queiroz Reis to take the decisive kick, which she did not miss.
The Panthers finished with 16 shots (7 SOG) to eight for the Sailfish (2 SOG). Florida Tech held a decided advantage in corner kicks, 10-2.
For more info: Florida Tech @ PBA Box Score
The Sunshine State Conference championship game awaits the Panthers. They will take on Embry-Riddle on Sunday at 1:00 p.m., as the Eagles beat Rollins 5-3 on penalty kicks in the other semifinal on Thursday. Florida Tech dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to ERAU back on September 22. They will return to the scene of the crime for Sunday’s title match.