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Panthers Put Out the Flames in Second Round Upset

Header pic: Mayara Queiroz Reis – Credit: Florida Tech Athletics

The dream of a women’s soccer national championship is still alive for the No. 5 Florida Tech Panthers (10-3-7) who pulled the upset against the top-seeded Lee Flames on Sunday, winning 3-2 on penalty kicks.

The result ended the Flames perfect season, snapping a 19-game winning streak and ensuring the Panthers a trip to West Florida to take on the third-seed Argonauts in the South Region Championship match.

Panthers goalie Maria Sanchez Recuero was spectacular in this one being under fire for much of the second half. She had her usual bend but don’t break mentality, making nine saves.

Sunday’s clash ended tied 1-1 after 110 minutes and the Panthers were on to penalty kicks for the second straight match. They beat Mississippi College on Friday after a 0-0 regulation tie, winning 4-1 on penalty kicks.

Lee (19-0-1) had allowed only five goals during the 2021 season and the Panthers had only allowed nine. Emily Swope got the first Panthers shot of the match but Lee goalie Jacqueline Burns made the save 2:20 in.

It took 3:30 for the Flames to make good on their chance when Jordan Blair banged one off the top of the crossbar and in, putting her team up, 1-0. The goal came off a nice pass into the box by Lauren Weimer, who earned the assist.

Florida Tech coach Ryan Moon felt the play was offside and he let his feelings be known. He was shown a yellow card. It was the first of two yellow cards on the Panthers bench on the day.

The Panthers started pressuring and the offense was pushing forward getting a couple chances on the offensive end. They were finally rewarded for their efforts when Marem Ndiongue found Mayara Queiroz Reis in front on a give-and-go. Queiroz Reis let it fly and got it by Burns, tying the match 1-1.

Queiroz Reis was injured at the 28:58 mark and needed to be helped off. It didn’t look good at the time, but she would eventually return in the second half and had an impact in the shootout round.

Ellie Crisler had a good chance in the 34th minute but Sanchez Recuero was there for the stop. 

Lee was credited with six shots in the first half with three of those on goal. They were just getting started. The Panthers had three shots, two on goal.

The Flames had four shots in the first 10 minutes of the second half. One was saved, two were blocked and the other was wide. It was a sign of things to come with Lee keeping up the pressure throughout the second half.

Queiroz Reis returned to the game in the 60th minute and the Panthers had a couple of chances shortly after. Vilma Ferdfelt had a shot saved by Burns and Ndiongue had a good look in the 64th minute that went just wide of the right post.

Panthers midfielder Alyssa Bartle was issued a yellow card in the 68th minute and Lee would get three more shots after that, one was blocked and two were saved by Sanchez Recuero. She would save another in the 82nd minute and come up big again in the 84th, as Riley Henry sent a rocket shot right on that she got a hand on and punched it over the top of the net.

Queiroz Reis had a chance in the 90th minute that was blocked out of bounds just as the second half ended. 

The Flames had 11 shots in the second half, including five on goal that Sanchez Recuero saved. Florida Tech took five shots in the half and three on goal. Lee took seven corners in regulation to the Panthers one.

This match went into overtime and the Flames kept the pressure up. They had a shot go wide and a second one saved by Sanchez Recuero. Bartle was booked in the 97th minute, earning her second yellow card. That means an automatic red card and Bartle was sent out of the game. She will be unavailable for the game against West Florida. 

Lee took two more shots in the second overtime and finished the match with 23. Of the 10 shots on goal, nine were saved by Sanchez Recuero. 

For the second straight match, the Panthers would go to penalty kicks and just like they did on Friday, they would get off to a quick start. Queiroz Reis would score to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Sanchez Recuero would then deny Kate Dirkse.

Ferdfelt would score to start round two and the Panthers were up 2-0. Avery Engels was unable to solve Sanchez Recuero as her shot bounced off Sanchez Recuero’s hands and straight up, allowing it to be caught. 

The third round started with Burns making her first save on JoJo Michaels. Ali Schroeder would get the Flames on the board with her goal, taking this one to the fourth round. Veronica Thordardottir, who scored the game-winner for Florida on Friday, would come through again making it 3-1. Sage Sammeli would answer for the Flames, sending this to the fifth round.

Burns made a big save on Ndiongue, putting the match on the foot of Mallory Hayden, who needed to score to send this game into an extra round. That didn’t happen as her shot banged off the post, sending the Panthers to the regional title game.

For More Info: Florida Tech @ Lee Flames Box Score (NCAA Tournament Second Round)

No. 3 West Florida beat Embry-Riddle 1-0 in overtime on the other side of the bracket on Sunday, setting up a South Region Championship date with the Panthers. That match will be played on Friday, December 3 in Pensacola, FL. The start time is to be announced.