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Preview: Panthers Face Choctaws in NCAA Tournament

Header Photo Credit: Florida Tech Athletics

The Florida Tech women’s soccer team earned their first NCAA Tournament trip since 2017 on Monday night, going in as the fifth seed in the South Region.

Coach Ryan Moon saw his team finish 10-3-5, finishing as the Sunshine State Conference runner-up with a 1-0 loss to Embry-Riddle in the championship game on Sunday. Moon is in his first full season as the Panthers head coach.

The Panthers will face the No. 4 seed Mississippi College Choctaws on Friday at 1:00 p.m. in Cleveland Tennessee. The Choctaws finished 12-4-1 overall,  including 10-3 in the Gulf South Conference. They lost to West Alabama on penalty kicks (5-4) on Sunday in the GSC Tournament 

This is the fourth straight year that the Choctaws have been in the NCAA Tournament.

Florida Tech outscored their opponents 19-9 this season, while Mississippi College scored 44 goals while allowing only 14. Junior goaltender Sara Maleski started 14 games and finished with a record of 10-4–1. She made 37 saves with a goals against average of 0.78 and had three shutouts.

Related: 2021 Tournament Bracket /// Printable Bracket

Redshirt senior Maria Sanchez Recuero is expected to be in net for the Panthers on Friday. She had a spectacular season finishing 9-2-5 making 53 saves and racking up nine shutouts.

The Mississippi College offense was led by senior Beatrice Currie, who scored nine goals and had three assists. She scored three goals in a game against Spring Hill on October 29, and scored two goals in a game twice this season.

Junior Avery Hederman had six goals and four assists this season, scoring two goals against Delta State on November 5. Redshirt junior Holly Pascoe is another one to watch. She had five goals and seven assists this season including four point games against LSU-Alexandria on September 10 and Montevallo on September 19.

The Choctaws biggest wins came against LSU-Alexandria on September 10 and Spring Hill on October 29, both 8-0 wins

Florida Tech’s offense was led by Sophomore Marem Ndiongue who had five goals and five assists. She had six multi-point games this season, including a four-game stretch from October 30, to November 11.  Junior Mayara Queiroz Reis finished the season with five goals and four assists, while junior Mariana Mazzocca had two goals and an assist this season.

The Panthers biggest point differential came in the first game of the season against Auburn-Montgomery, a 4-1 win.

The winner of Friday’s matchup will face No. 1 seeded Lee (19-0, 13-0 GSC) in the second round on Sunday.

Links to the video and statistical information for Friday’s game will be posted on the @sports_lowdown twitter feed when they become available.