The Florida Tech Panthers won the battle of unbeatens on Saturday at Rick Stottler Field, taking down the Eckerd Tritons 3-2 in a Sunshine State Conference Men’s Soccer showdown.
The Panthers (3-0-1, 1-0) fired 19 shots, with seven of them on goal. In contrast, Eckerd had only six. Florida Tech’s Sam Sawyer got the home team on the board first at 13:06, beating Eckerd goalie Alex Gott. The assist went to Josh Thomas.
The Tritons (5-1, 1-1) were in good position to tie things up when Sawyer picked up a yellow card at 30:36, resulting in a penalty kick for Matheus Assumpcao. Florida Tech goalie Christian Moerch was up to the task, diving to his right and getting the save. Unfortunately for the Panthers, Assumpcao was in position to pick up the rebound and he drove it past Moerch, tying the game at one.
Florida Tech kept up the pressure getting two corner kicks in the 33rd minute, by Josh Thomas and Luca Campanini 14 seconds apart. They did not convert, but in the 42nd minute, Fabian Egbeletook two shots against Gott, forcing him to make two consecutive saves, eight seconds apart.
Gott was up to the task and despite taking three shots and four corners, the Panthers had to settle for a first half tie.
Eckerd fired the first shot in the second half, but Moritz Hannemann hit the post. Gott would get help from his post just over a minute later, when Egbele rang one that didn’t go in.
Evan Endersfinally broke the tie at 56:37, when he dribbled through the Eckerd defense, beating Gott and giving the Panthers a 2-1 lead. That seemed to jumpstart the offense, as Florida Tech bombarded Gott with shots over the next 10 minutes or so. Gott was forced to make two save on eight shots in that time.
The only thing that broke the momentum, was a yellow card on Jack Turnbull, giving the Tritons a chance with 68:21 gone in the match. Robert Labus took the free kick from about 20 yards out and unleashed a big boomer toward the top right corner that tied the game.
To their credit, the Panthers stayed the course and four minutes after the Labus goal, they were rewarded when Adin Kavara found Brandon Smalley, with a pass and Smalley beat Gott to his left, giving the Panthers a 3-2 lead. Thomas also earned an assist on the Smalley goal.
Each team had a couple shots in the closing minutes, but the Panthers hung on for the victory. It was a second half that saw the Panthers take 14 shots.
For more info: Eckerd @ Florida Tech Box Score
Next up for Florida Tech is another tough conference opponent in Saint Leo. The ions are ranked 9thin the conference and they will host the Panthers Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
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