ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Shannon Estes-Larkin has battled through injuries for her entire career at Eckerd College.
Perhaps it was learning to fight through pain and adversity that prepared her to step up in crucial moments. Whatever the reason, the results have been quite positive in the early portion of her senior season for her individually and the Tritons collectively.
Estes-Larkin’s strike from just inside the box on Thursday night sealed a dramatic 3-2 overtime win over Palm Beach Atlantic at the Turley Athletic Complex and kept Eckerd (2-0-1) unbeaten on the season.
It was a good win for sixth-year head coach Danielle Fotopoulos and her squad, which is already showing the benefits from a change in mentality for the new season.
“This year we were focused on we needed to do to be successful,” she said. “We’ve got a really great system, and focusing more on us than on our opponents has been beneficial.”
Last season, Palm Beach Atlantic defeated the Tritons, 3-0, despite Eckerd’s holding an edge in shots.
That trend continued in the first 45 minute as Eckerd dominated possession but still found itself trailing at the break. PBAU’s Haily Johnson broke free after a long ball played down the right sideline and set a hard shot over the hands of Angelique Ulmer to the left post in the 11th minute for the only score of the half.
That goal held up for PBAU (2-1) until Abby Sanchez recorded the equalizer in the 62nd minute. After a scrum in the box saw Sailfish keeper Kayla Wincko go to the turf, Sanchez chased down the loose ball and chipped it into the open net for her first goal of the season.
One minute later, a hand ball just outside the box gave EC a direct kick from prime position. Taylor Tippett took the set piece from 20 yards out and curved a perfect shot into the upper left corner to put Eckerd ahead, 2-1….