Sarah Oulman

Florida Southern College women’s lacrosse began the 2020 season with a victory over Young Harris College in a non-conference match on Feb. 14. 

The No. 8 Mocs (1-0) maintained a 11-0 lead over the Mountain Lions (1-1), defeating Young Harris College 18-6.

The Mocs, with an initial lead of 11-0, were led by senior Marina Jozokos, who scored five points on three goals and two assists. 

Ten other Mocs also scored during the game, in which Sandy Grady, Brenna Smith, Grace Glinecki and Katie Yeagle scored multiple goals.

Florida Southern junior Maliah Benedetto won the opening draw on Friday, while Jozokos scored the first goal of the 2020 season with 28:34 on the clock. Soon after, the Mocs secured a 3-0 lead in just 53 seconds after Glinecki and Benedetto fired the next two goals. 

The team continued to capitalize on the early momentum, reaching an 11-point lead before sophomore Taylor Greenberg scored Young Harris College’s first goal of the game. 

Florida Southern College freshman Madison Tare finished out the first half of the game by scoring her first collegiate goal in the last two minutes of the first half, raising the Mocs to 12-1. 

With the season now in full swing, Florida Southern College women’s lacrosse coach Kara Reber is prepared for an exciting season with the team this spring. 

“I’m excited for this season because I don’t think that many teams really know what to expect from us, since we’ve lost our All-Americans,” Reber said. “We do have a senior class of 13 who have had three full years of experience under them, and I think that they’re ready to step up for the challenge this year.”

This comes after the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Preseason Coaches Poll placed the Mocs in third place for the season in the eight-team league, while the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) ranked the team No. 8 in its Top 25 list.

“It’s always great to be recognized as one of the top teams in the country, but again, that’s all coaches’ opinion polls,” Reber said. “It’s just something that we know we want to work to make sure that we finish at the highest level that we can each season.”

With 40 points and one first place vote, Florida Southern follows behind Rollins College and University of Tampa in the 2020 SSC Preseason Poll. 

During the 2019 season, Florida Southern College, Rollins College and University of Tampa each finished with a 5-1 league record, leading all three teams to share the 2019 SSC regular-season championship. University of Tampa continued to win the 2019 SSC tournament, beating out Rollins College during the semifinals along with Florida Southern College in the championship final.

The Mocs were also ranked No. 8 in the IWLCA Coaches Poll with 471 total points, after a final record of 16-4 during the 2019 season and an appearance in the NCAA Regional Semifinals. 

Florida Southern was joined in the IWLCA Coaches Poll by three other SSC programs, including Rollins College, University of Tampa and Saint Leo University. 

The Mocs have a challenging season ahead of them, as they are facing nine teams that had previously advanced to the NCAA Championships during the 2019 season. 

The team will also be facing seven of the top ten ranked teams in the IWLCA Coaches’ Poll, including Adelphi, Regis, Queens, Tampa, Rollins, Lindenwood and Mercy. 

Despite the 2020 season’s difficult schedule, Reber feels that the team is well-prepared and equipped to face-off against some of the top-ranked teams in the program.

“I think our goal this year is to really focus on playing as a team and improving ourselves each game,” Reber said. “Really working on the chemistry, being there for each other and cheering for other people’s successes is kind of the number one thing that we want to focus on this year.”

Florida Southern concluded its two-game road stand with a neutral site game against the University of Indianapolis on Feb. 16, where the Mocs fell 15-14 in double overtime.

Indianapolis scored a goal to tie the game with less than one secon remaining on the clock and managed to snag another goal in the second overtime to defeat Florida Southern.

The loss drops Florida Southern to 1-1, while No. 12 Indianapolis moves up to 1-0.

Florida Southern College women’s lacrosse will face Lindenwood on Feb. 23 and Seton Hill on Feb. 29 at home on the Mocassin Field. 

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