JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Florida Gulf Coast took a 4-1 halftime lead that would never be threatened and rode and outstanding defensive effort anchored by sophomore goalie Austin Cotton to win the 2017 SELC Division II championship, 7-3, over Kennesaw State on Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles (10-4) automatically qualify for a berth in 2017 MCLA National Championships powered by Under Armour, which will be held in Orange County, Calif., from May 8-13.
Kennesaw State (10-6) will be a candidate for one of the at-large spots in the 16-team field that will be announced on the evening of April 30.
Florida Gulf Coast, which is making its third visit to nationals in the last four years, held a 1-0 lead after one quarter, but would have been up considerably more if not for the play of Kennesaw State netminder Connor Hanson. The senior was spectacular, and was credited with 10 saves in the first 15 minutes alone.
The Eagles finally managed to break through in the second to build a 4-1 lead at halftime. FGCU was also aided by large stretches of sloppy play by the Owls in the rain, leading to countless unforced turnovers on the clear.
Thanks to Cotton, who matched Hanson’s superb goalie play, Kennesaw couldn’t convert several of the few chances they did have. The Eagles blanked the Owls in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.
2017 SELC Division II Tournament
Quarterfinals – Johns Creek, Ga. – April 21
Palm Beach Atlantic d. UNC-Charlotte, 18-6
Columbus State d. Coastal Carolina, 10-8
Florida Gulf Coast d. Appalachian State, 8-6
Kennesaw State d. Citadel, 25-8
Semifinals – Johns Creek, Ga. – April 22
Kennesaw State d. Palm Beach Atlantic, 8-6
Florida Gulf Coast d. Columbus State, 17-8
Finals – Johns Creek, Ga. – April 23
Florida Gulf Coast d. Kennesaw State, 7-3