PENSACOLA, Fla. – West Florida defeated Florida Tech 2-1 Sunday afternoon at the UWF Soccer Complex to advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament.
The Argonauts (15-0-3) extended their unbeaten streak to 31 and their winning streak to 12 to improve to 15-8-3 all-time in the NCAA tournament. It’s the fifth time the Argos advanced to the third round and the fourth time in the past five years.
“I’m proud for the seniors,” UWF coach Joe Bartlinski said. “This was their last chance to represent on their home field. We had the adversity giving up the goal, but the seniors fought back and they can leave their home field as winners.”
UWF, the No. 1 seed in the South Region, will travel to the to the remaining highest seeded Southeast Region team to play South Region No. 2 Rollins in the third round Nov. 22. The winner of that match will play the Southeast Region champion Nov. 24.
UWF got on the board early when senior Alex Pickrell sent a pass to April Syme, who connected with Chelsea Palmer, who crossed the ball to freshman Svenja Burkhardt. Burkhardt sent a header past the keeper in the fifth minute.
“We had been practicing that for a while,” Burkhardt said. “I was lucky to have scored the goal, but all that matters is that we’re in the next round. My goal was just a little part of it.”
FIT tied things up in 40th minute when a shot deflected off the left post and rebounded in front of a Panther in the box who shot for the equalizer.
The teams went back and forth in the second half before Burkhardt sent a cross to senior Sashana Campbell who scored in the 71st minute.
“We’ve been there before,” Campbell said of the time running out in regulation with the season on the line. “We needed that goal. I saw the ball coming across…I saw the keeper go the other way, and there were no defenders around once I got the ball, so I was composed.”