The Sharks played a record-breaking game against the FIT Panthers this past Wednesday. It was the first time in nine years that the Sharks defeated FIT and the first time in 11 years that the team has won seven consecutive matches. The first shot of the night was from the Panthers in the third minute, but junior goalkeeper Titouan Le Roux blocked it. Less than 10 minutes later, graduate student, Bradley Fountain arched the ball into the upper left corner of the net from outside the box for the game’s first, and only goal. At the 23rd minute, Le Roux had another impressive save. The second half of the game was more aggressive, getting six yellow cards combined in a span of 25 minutes. The Panthers had three more attempts on the goal between the 79 and 82 minutes, but the shots were high, blocked, and wide, respectfully. The game ended 1-0 Sharks.
On Wednesday, the Sharks faced off against the Panthers in a 3-1 victory. Early on, the Panthers had control over the Sharks. When the Panthers threatened again it was blocked by freshmen goalkeeper Natalie Robayna made a two-handed save. Midway through the half, Robayna saved the Sharks yet again with an amazing kick save. The game’s first goal was from sophomore Adanna Edwards when a low liner into the left corner of the net 42 minutes into the game. In the 55 minute, the Panthers had a opportunity to tie the game back up, but yet another impressive block by Robayna prevented that. In the 81 minute, senior Jemma House had a defensive steal that resulted in another goal, leading the team with five goals for the season. Florida Tech came back with a single goal in the 83 minute to prevent a shutout, but 57 seconds later, junior Emma Heikkila shot a right-footed strike from 30 yards out, bringing the final score to 3-1.
On Friday, the Sharks faced off against the Lions and won after four sets. During the first set, NSU scored the first two points, but Saint Leo stayed close behind. When the Sharks were up 6-4, the Lions got on a 6-0 run. The Sharks caught up, getting one behind before the Lions went on a 7-1 run to a seven point lead. For the rest of the set, they kept bouncing back and forth, until the Lions had set point. The Sharks tried to come back, but the Lions got the opener. The two teams were tied 10 times by the time both teams reached 11 points.. Leo got another 3-0 run, bringing the score of the second set to 21-19. The Sharks responded with four in a row to take their first lead of the set. Senior Denvyr Tyler-Palmer finished the Lions off with a kill for a 25-23 victory. The third set started with a 4-1 and 7-4 lead from the Sharks. The Lions tied it up at 7-7 and 9-9. That sparked something within the Sharks, who went on a 7-1 run for a seven point lead. Leo came back with three points, cutting down the lead to four points. The Sharks pushed it back to seven, the final score being 25-19. At the beginning of the fourth set, the Sharks were down 3-2, but got a 6-2 run lead. The Lions fought back to get a lead of 11-10, before they tied at four times. The Lions had a lead of 16-14, before the Sharks got the score up to 17-16, and Leo brought it back up to 18-17. The Sharks finally pulled through and went on a 7-1 run to give themselves a match point. Senior Maddie Uilk scored the game’s final kill to get the win.
The Sharks played on Saturday against Florida Southern. NSU started the first set with a 6-0 to get a 7-2 lead. The Moccasins came back with a 9-2 run to steal and hold onto the lead for the rest of the set. Tyler-Palmer got a kill, her record-breaking kill of the night, to cut the lead to four, making the score to 18-14. The Mocs went on another run of 7-1 for a 25-15 win. In the second set, the Sharks weren’t able to get a lead at all, as the Moccasins got a 13-6 lead. Later on, NSU was able to go on a 3-0 run with kills by Uilk and graduate student Leslie Atherton, with help from an error by the Mocs to get the score to 23-18. That’s as far as they got, because Florida Southern got a 2-0 run to win the second set. The Sharks were able to hold the lead through the majority of the third set. When the score was at 11-10, sophomore Gabby Bauch made a kill and the Mocs got an error, bringing the score to 13-10. When Florida Southern came within one point, the Sharks took off on a 8-2 run for a score of 22-15. The Moccasins wouldn’t give up, going on a 10-1 run to win the set and the game.
The first day of the Griffin Invitational was held on this past Monday. The Sharks were the only team to break 300 in each of the first two rounds. NSU sat at the top of the leaderboard at 23-over, followed by the host, Saint Leo and Wingate. Senior Finlay Mason set the bar for the Sharks early on Monday morning, getting an even-par 71 in the first round before getting a 75 in the afternoon tied for fifth. Senior, and fellow All-American, Juan Jose Guerra had a little bit of a rough start by shooting an opening round of 78, yet came back with a vengeance with five birdies in the second round, ending with a two-under 69. In his collegiate debut, freshmen Daniel Celestino produced rounds of 76 and 72. He got back-to-back birdies down the stretch of the second round to get in the Top-10 of the leaderboard. Senior Martin Larrea ended the day ties for 19th at 10-over, while junior Benjamin Hjort was tied for 32nd at 14-over.
The Griffin Invitational concluded on Tuesday, with NSU getting 2nd out of 9 teams. The Sharks watched their eight-shot lead disappear as the host, Saint Leo used a collective round of 2-over 286 to get the championship by a very small two-stroke margin. NSU finished close behind in the runner-up spot, five shots ahead of Wingate. Tampa and Cal State Monterey Bay finished out the top five. Guerra started the first round of the second day with an almost flawless 65 to climb to the top of the leaderboard after starting the morning stuck in 7. Back-to-back birdies on holes 1 and 2 started his rise before he collected another birdie on the 6 to close the first nine with 33. After that, he got a pair of pars, eagled hole 12, with birdies on 16 and 18 to secure the win. Mason just missed Top-10, getting 11th at nine-over for the tournament while Celestino tied for 23 overall after a final-round 81. Hjort came back and fought hard to tie for 27, with Larrea rounding out the lineup tied for 34 at 21-over.