MELBOURNE, Fla. – The 11th-ranked Embry-Riddle women's soccer team made Sunshine State Conference history on Sunday becoming the first women's soccer team to win four consecutive SSC Tournament …
MELBOURNE, Fla. – The 11th-ranked Embry-Riddle women's soccer team made Sunshine State Conference history on Sunday becoming the first women's soccer team to win four consecutive SSC Tournament titles. The second-seeded Eagles (14-1-3) defeated top-seeded Florida Tech 1-0 on the Panthers' home field to bring home their fourth conference tournament crown in as many seasons.
Former St. Johns Country Day School soccer star Lauryn Mateo is a freshman starter for the Eagles. Mateo followed up her SSC Freshman of the Year award with SSC Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors.
Sunday also marked the third time in three seasons that the Eagles and the Panthers were meeting in the title game. The 2023 edition of the tournament rivalry ended the same way as the previous two with a single goal by the Eagles being the difference.
Led by second-year head coach Liam McIlhatton, Embry-Riddle women's soccer has earned an automatic bid to the 2023 NCAA II Women's Soccer National Championship.
Florida Tech had most of the possession to start Sunday's game. The 17th-ranked Panthers registered five of the first six shots of the game and outshot the Eagles 6-5 in the first half. But ERAU netminder Oona Jokinen was solid in the pipes for Blue and Gold, keeping the Panthers at Bay with a couple of big saves.
In the 33rd minute, the Eagles launched a counterattack and got the ball out to Isabelle Navren who won the second corner kick of the game for ERAU. Navren took the set piece and sent the ball to the back post when Lauryn Mateo rose above the Florida Tech defense to head home her sixth goal of the year and give the Eagles a 1-0 advantage.
Three of the four remaining chances in the half belonged to the Eagles, but they were unable to add to their tally, taking the one-goal lead into the halftime break.
The second half provided several anxious moments for both sides. The Panthers held a 4-3 edge in shots, but Embry-Riddle proved the more dangerous side as all three shots tested goalkeeper Ayana Aoyagi, while only one Panther shot was on frame. The final 45 minutes produced no changes to the score line, however, and the Eagles came away from Rick Stotler Field with the victory and the title.