FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (GoLeeFlames.com) - The 2017 Gulf South Champion Lee women's soccer team will be the three seed in the South Region and will open up NCAA Tournament Play on Friday as they take on sixth-seeded Florida Tech at 1 p.m.
Nova Southeastern (12-4-1) is the region's No. 2 seed and will host the first and second rounds. The Sharks fell to Tampa, 3-0 in the Sunshine State Conference Semifinals. The winner of Friday's game will play Nova Southeastern on Sunday at 2 p.m.
"The girls are very excited to have the opportunity to play in the region tournament again," said head coach Chris Hennessey. "We don't know a lot about Florida Tech yet other than they won their tournament, so we will find out as much as we can about them in the next 48 hours. Obviously, they are a very good team and we know that we will have to be at our best to compete with them."
The Lady Flames (16-4) moved up to No. 6 in the nation, tying their highest ranking ever, after defeating Mississippi College, 1-0 in the GSC Championship game on Sunday evening. Hennessey's club has now won nine straight matches, allowing just four goals over that stretch.
The Choctaws drew the No. 1 overall seed in the region despite the loss to the Lady Flames and will play the winner of fellow GSC schools West Florida and North Alabama. This marks the first time ever the GSC has had four teams qualify for the National Tournament.
Summer Lanter was named the GSC Tournament MVP after she scored five goals in three GSC playoff matches, including the game winner to clinch the title against Choctaws. Summer drilled home the match's lone score when a shot from her sister Anna deflected off the keeper's hands in the 21st minute.
Lanter, the two-time GSC Player of the Year, has now netted eight goals in her last four matches, including a pair of hat tricks. The senior leads the team with 17 goals on the year.
Lanter joined defenders Meagan Newman and Katie Cloud and midfielders Suzanne Arant and Mia Hollingsworth on the All-Tournament team. Lanter, Newman and McKenzie Bricker were named first team all-conference while Arant and Hollingsworth took home second team honors.
Florida Tech (9-7-3) upset Tampa in penalty kicks after battling to 0-0 tie in the SSC Championship to earn the league's automatic bid. Maria Munoz leads the way for the Panthers with six goals and three assists while goalkeeper Karlyn Prisco has posted eight clean sheets and a 1.16 goals against average on the year.
The Lady Flames have now qualified for the National Tournament in each of their first three seasons of NCAA postseason eligibility. Lee is still searching for its first victory after dropping close contests to Tampa (1-0) and Rollins (3-2) the last two years.