The No. 14 Embry-Riddle Eagles scored 4:57 into the match on Sunday and held on to beat the Panthers 1-0 in the 2021 Sunshine State Conference championship in Daytona Beach.
It is the second straight SSC title for the Eagles who came into the SSC Tournament as the number one seed. They improved their record to 10-3-3 overall and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament which begins on Thursday, November 18.
The silver lining for the sixth-ranked Panthers (10-3-5) is that they will likely advance to the NCAA’s as well, by virtue of their fourth place standing in the South Region. It would have been nice to add a conference championship on the way to the tournament.
The Eagles out shot the Panthers 11-9 with both teams getting four shots on goal. Embry-Riddle goalie Oona Jokinen saved all four, earning a clean sheet.
The Eagles got the only goal of the game on a Panther turnover. The Embry-Riddle defender pushed forward and passed it off to Ragnheidur Gardarsdottir, who found Marie Myhrvold Seim. She fired it past Panthers netminder Maria Sanchez Recuero, giving the home team a 1-0 lead.
Florida Tech had a great chance at the 9:57 mark when Marem Ndiongue rattled one off the crossbar. The rebound came out to JoJo Michaels, who got a good shot off only to see Jokinen make the save.
The Panthers got a free kick with 7:10 left in the half and the play was there but the Embry-Riddle defense blocked it away.
Florida Tech had a 6-4 advantage in shots at the half and held a 2-1 advantage in corners, but the Eagles were up where it counted.
ERAU had a golden opportunity to add to their lead one minute into the second half when Florida Tech was called for a handball in the box, resulting in a penalty kick. Gardarsdottir was called on to take it, but she shot it wide and the one goal difference remained.
Sanchez Recuero would make three more saves in the half with the third coming in the 73rd minute as the Eagles were looking to salt it away. Isabelle Navren took the shot but Sanchez Recuero made an impressive save to keep her team in it.
The Embry-Riddle defense deserves credit as they held the Panthers down, allowing only two shots on goal in that second half and made sure the one goal was all they needed.
For more info: Florida Tech @ ERAU Box Score (SSC Championship)
Mayara Queiroz Reis took five shots in this match, two were on goal. Ndiongue had one of her two shots go on goal.
The NCAA Tournament Selection show will take place tomorrow (Monday, November 15), at 6:00 p.m. You can watch on NCAA.com to find out when and where the Panthers will be to start their tournament run.