MELBOURNE, Fla. – The Saint Anselm College women's lacrosse team hung with its second-straight ranked opponent on the road to start the season before succumbing to No. 6 Florida Tech, 15-12, on Saturday evening at FTP Stadium.
After trailing 4-0 midway through the first half, Saint Anselm (0-2) got within a goal, 6-5, at halftime and was still within a goal with 21:18 to go, trailing 9-8. Florida Tech (4-0), however, scored five of the next six goals to build a 13-9 lead with 10:27 remaining and held on.
Senior Erica Mattila led the Hawks with four goals and a career-high 16 draw controls, easily surpassing her previous career-best mark of six. The 16 draw controls were the third-most in program history in a single game and just one shy of the all-time record of 17 held by Beth Millian (at Merrimack, 4/6/08) and current head coach Meghan Smith (at Franklin Pierce, 4/20/11).
Sophomore Breda Holland tallied two goals and an assist, with seniors Emma Palumbo and Meaghan Sheehy contributing two goals apiece. Beck paced the Hawks with three ground balls and five caused turnovers, while junior goalie Zoie Cavotta made 12 saves in net.
Sam Schiano scored seven goals and grabbed eight draw controls for Florida Tech, which got four goals and two assists from Lauren Tybor and three goals from Sara Grenier. Three Panthers had two caused turnovers apiece and Allie Wood and Olivia Going each had three ground balls. Stephanie Stuart picked up the victory with eight saves for the hosts.
Florida Tech surged out to a 4-0 lead with 15:45 left in the first half with Schiano scoring twice early on. Beck, Holland and Mattila scored the game's next three goals for the Hawks, cutting the Panthers' lead to 4-3 with 6:47 remaining in the half after Mattila's first goal of the evening. After Schiano scored consecutive goals to give Florida Tech a three-goal lead, Beck and Sheehy scored 23 seconds apart in the final minute of the first half, leaving the Hawks down just 6-5 at the break.
The Panthers scored three of the first four goals over the first 4:25 of the second half to go back up three, 9-6. Goals by Mattila and Sheehy got Saint Anselm back within a goal at 9-8 with 21:18 to play, only for Tybor and Grenier to quickly give Florida Tech an 11-8 lead with goals 1:05 apart.
A Grenier goal with 10:27 remaining matched the largest lead of the game for Florida Tech at 13-9 and the hosts continued to lead by four, 15-11, with 3:58 left before Holland set up Palumbo for the game's final goal with 2:45 remaining.
Florida Tech outshot Saint Anselm by a 36-28 margin in the game, but the Hawks held advantages in draw controls (16-13) and ground balls (13-12). Saint Anselm went 4-for-11 on free-position shots and limited the Panthers to 2-for-8 in that department.
After a day off, Saint Anselm returns to action against Georgian Court on Monday, March 5 at 1 p.m. at Saint Leo University to finish its Florida trip.