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Preview: Panthers Look to Extinguish Flames

Header pic: Maria Sanchez Recuero – Credit: Florida Tech Athletics

With their win over the fourth-seeded Mississippi College Choctaws on penalty kicks in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, the Florida Tech Panthers will now turn their attention to the top-seeded Lee Flames in Sunday’s second round.

The win over Mississippi College was the first NCAA tournament win since 2013 for the Panthers.

Lee is this year’s host of the tournament, showing off their new home turf at the Ray Conn Sports Complex which opened in the spring. The Flames are 9-0 on their home pitch this season, with 14 of their 19 wins this season being shutouts.

The Flames earned a first-round bye by virtue of being the top seed in the South Region with a record of 19-0, including 13-0 in the Gulf South Conference. They beat West Georgia last Saturday to win their second GSC Championship.

The Panthers (10-3-6) got to the NCAA tournament as the fifth-seed, finishing as the runner-up in the Sunshine State Conference tournament. They have a record of 6-3-1 on the road.

Related: 2021 Tournament Bracket /// Printable Bracket

Lee has had an amazing season thus far, allowing just five goals all season, while scoring 52. That’s an average of 2.74 goals a game. 

Riley Henry is the leading goal scorer with 12 goals and five assists. Alexis Hale has seven goals and three assists, while Lauren Weimer has seven goals and one assist. Ellie Crisler has five goals and five assists.

Jackie Burns is the Flames starting goaltender this season, starting 14 games and allowing only three goals. Her goals against average is a miniscule 0.22 and her save percentage an impressive .936.

The Panthers have scored 19 goals, while allowing nine this season. Those numbers are unchanged after the first round win.

Redshirt senior Maria Sanchez Recuero had eight saves in Friday’s win, bringing her season total to 61. She comes into Sunday’s game with a 8-3-6 record, including 10 shutouts. Her goals against is 0.43, while her save percentage is .884.

Florida Tech’s offense was led by Sophomore Marem Ndiongue who has five goals and five assists this season. She had one shot on goal in Friday’s victory. Ndiongue had six multi-point games this season, including a four-game stretch from October 30, to November 11. Junior Mayara Queiroz Reis has five goals and four assists this season and had one shot on goal on Friday against the win over the Choctaws. Junior Mariana Mazzocca has two goals and an assist this season.

Lee and Florida Tech have three common opponents from the 2021 season, including Auburn-Montgomery, Mississippi College, and Montevallo. Both teams beat all three.

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

The winner of Sunday’s second-round tilt will move to the third-round which is scheduled for the weekend of December 3-5.