Nov. 14, 2010

Courtesy of Florida Tech Athletics

For the first time in Florida Tech womens soccer history, the Panthers have advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament following a 2-0 victory over Rollins Sunday afternoon at Barker Family Stadium at Cahall-Sandspur Field.

It was an amazing victory for us,” Tech head coach Fidgi Haig said. When you take care of all the little things in the beginning, the universe sometimes conspires to make things happen for you. Our plan was to go at Rollins very hard in the first half and score at least one goal. Fortunately, we added one more in the half and had a somewhat comfortable lead in the second period.

We were able to slow down Rollins tempo today and everything went according to plan, which doesnt happen often. Im proud of all the girls. Each one contributed to the result. Were now looking forward to playing either West Florida or Tampa later this week.”

The South Regions top seed, Rollins (10-5-2), applied pressure on the Panthers (10-6-3) in the opening 10 minutes as Mist Eliasdottir was called on to make a diving save on a close shot by the Tars Ashley Waplinger. Charlotte Murrell pounced on the rebound and blasted the ball toward the left corner of the goal. Rachel Devlin, who was hugging the post, punched the ball out to keep the game scoreless.

In the 13th minute, Paula Lillsjo sent a long ball up the field to a streaking Casey Lademann. The junior transfer broke away from the Tars defense and fired it on goal. Fortunately for Tech, it glanced off the right post and went into the net for Lademanns record-breaking 15th goal of the season. The tally moved her past Teresa Brantley and Kelli Hurate, the programs previous single-season goals record holders.

I didnt play for the team last year, but I was told we came out flat in our second-round match against Rollins,” Lademann said. I heard we didnt play all that well and we were so excited about the previous win. Today, everyone had the right mindset. We played the best weve played all year. We played as a team, we played hard and everyone pushed as hard as they could. We were able to maintain good intensity throughout most of the game. It feels great to earn this win.”

Kelly Whittaker tacked on Techs second goal as a result of a defensive miscue in the 28th minute. At the half, Rollins had a 5-4 advantage in shots and a 2-1 advantage in corner kicks. Eliasdottir turned away three shots, including her key diving save.

From the start of the second period, the Tars applied some strong pressure on their counterparts. The Panther defense and Eliasdottir, however, remained composed and focused on their goal. In the final 15 minutes, the ‘keeper from Keflavik, Iceland made three enormous diving saves, one of which hit off the right post. She finished the match with seven saves.

The Panthers win on Sunday is their first over the Tars since Oct. 25, 2006. In the 1-0 win, Ericka Hildreth scored the golden goal in the first overtime period of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament quarterfinal match.

Tech will now play the winner of Sundays match between West Florida and Tampa on Friday, Nov. 19. The site and time of the match have yet to be announced.