MELBOURNE, Fla. (Women’s Soccer) – On more than one occasion this offseason, first-year head coach Dustin Smith mentioned the significant offensive boost Florida Tech was set to receive with the addition of Keira McCarthy and return of Aubri Williamson up front. However, I doubt even he expected their impact to be felt quite so soon. Backing their coach’s words, the duo recorded a goal apiece to lift the Panthers to a commanding 2-0 shutout over Eastern Florida State in Tuesday’s preseason debut.
“Obviously, I said since the outset they were going to be huge assets to have,” said Smith. “Last year it was easy for teams to press up and pressure us. Now they’re going to have to respect our offensive firepower, per se. I still think that even Aubri, and with Keira being a freshman, it’s going to take them some time to start clicking on all cylinders. Once that happens, I’m looking for some exciting things.”
Florida Tech controlled the contest from the get-go, and finally broke through in the 40th minute in front of the home crowd. Following a rip off the left post, McCarthy corralled her own rebound and beat the keeper for her first career goal to put the Panthers up 1-0.
Outshooting the Titans by an overall 16-6 margin, Florida Tech added to its cushion early in the second half when Williamson found the back of the net on a right-footed strike inside the 18-yard box.
From there, the defense took care of the rest.
Goalie Julia Kantor registered two saves to preserve the shutout, as the Panthers limited Eastern Florida State to a total of just two corners and six shots on the night.
“I thought that, with only being out here for a couple days, the girls looked sharper than I anticipated,” said Smith. “All in all, I was happy with the depth. We were able to get the majority of the girls in, and everyone who played had something positive to add to the game. I’m very pleased with that and ready to move forward.”
FIT will look to build off its victory when it returns to the pitch next Thursday at 7 p.m. ET in a scrimmage at Flagler. The Panthers knocked off the Saints 2-0 in a similar matchup in 2014.