Panthers Evade Saints, Cap Preseason Undefeated

southfloridasoccer . COLLEGE SOCCER 831

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (Women’s Soccer) – After nearly being canceled with storms roaming throughout the state, Florida Tech took full advantage of the opportunity to play its final preseason match. Receiving enough early offense, the Panthers withstood Flagler to secure a respective 2-1 victory on the road Thursday evening.

“It was very important,” head coach Dustin Smith said about the chance to squeeze in the contest. “We’re still in the preseason trying to evaluate the team as a whole, and to be able to get 90 minutes in allowed us to see how we’re progressing.

“It was a good win. We played better in the first half, as opposed to the second, but it’s huge anytime you can go on the road and win.”

In just her second game back following a season-ending injury a year ago, redshirt freshman Taylor Eller put the Panthers on the board in the 22nd minute.

Her first career goal in Crimson and Gray didn’t go unnoticed by Smith either.

“Her progression is getting better and better each day that we’re training,” he said. “For Taylor to get into the scoring column today, that was important for her confidence. It kind of lets her know that she’s back and ready for everything ahead.”

Forward Aubri Williamson would later add to Florida Tech’s lead, making it 2-0 Panthers in the 34th minute. Her second score in as many matches would ultimately be the difference, giving FIT the boost it needs with the regular season right around the corner.

“Again, it’s only preseason,” said Smith. “For both teams, it’s not indicative of how a full game is going to go. It’s very important to relay that message to the girls, but at the same time it’s great to build some confidence, especially building up to our trip to Texas.”

FIT will kick-off its regular season one week from tonight, as it heads out west to battle Saint Mary’s (Texas) on Sept. 3 at 6:30 p.m. ET. The Panthers have won five consecutive openers, including a 1-0 defeat of BYU-Hawaii in 2014.