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Panthers Win Opener Over Coker

Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown Logan Sweeney had a hat-trick in Sunday’s win over Coker

The Florida Tech Panthers got their lacrosse season off to a great start Sunday, with a 10-7 win over the Coker Cobras in Hartsville S.C.  

Senior Logan Sweeney wasted no time getting into a groove, as he netted a hat-trick in less than three quarters. Junior Reid Chaconas scored his two goals just over eight minutes apart in the second quarter and senior Addison Abramson added two of his own. 

The win was the first for Panthers head coach Mark Penn, who took over for Ryan McAleavey during the offseason. 

“It feels great to get that first one under my belt,” said Penn, via email on Sunday. “But this is really about the men and the program and moving one step forward. I know I wasn’t hired to win one game. But I’m grateful and 100% of the glory goes to GOD.”

The Panthers (1-0) got off to as good a start as you could hope for, scoring the first eight goals of the contest. Senior goalie Daniel Flock made 12 saves on 19 shots, with 11 of those saves bridging the second and third quarters. 

It took just 20 seconds for Sweeney to get the Panthers on the board, as he beat Cobras goalie Chris Hagy. Chaconas would score two of the next three goals, with a goal Abramson sandwiched in there, to put the Panthers up 4-0.  

Sweeney would get his second of the day with 56 seconds left in the quarter, giving his squad a 5-0 lead after 15 minutes. 

The Florida Tech defense absolutely dominated the first quarter. They held Coker to three shots, including one shot on goal. The Panthers had 14, nine on cage. 

It took 3:04 for the Panthers to get on the board in the second quarter, as senior Brad Schillinger took a feed from sophomore Luke Palmisano and put it in the back of the net, giving the Panthers a 6-0 lead. Sophomore Tommy Bowser would get his first of the day with 5:44 left in the quarter and the Panthers took a 7-0 lead into the half. 

Coker took 14 shots in that second quarter, showing signs of life. The Panthers finished with 24, including 14 on goal. Ground balls were 7-2 in favor of Florida Tech. 

Sweeney completed the hat-trick with 9:33 left in the third, upping the Panthers lead to 8-0. A goal by  Ethan Irizarry got the Cobras on the board just over three minutes later. Abramson would answer that, making it 9-1. A goal by  Joe Venazio 41 seconds later, closed the gap to 9-2. 

Coker (1-1) started the fourth quarter with a three goal run, trimming the Panthers lead to 9-5. Matt Murphy scored two of those goals, 32 seconds apart. Bowser’s second tally made it 10-5 with 8:51 to go, but the Cobras didn’t go away quietly, getting a goal from Lucas Hediger with 3:17 to go and the hat trick goal from Murphy with 2:35 left, cutting the final deficit to three. 

Hagy deserves a lot of credit, as he kept his team in the game in the final quarter, coming up with seven saves. He finished with 15 saves, while Flock had 12. The Panthers held a 15-7 advantage in ground balls and were 12-of-17 on faceoffs. The majority of those were won by senior Ryan Land, who was impressive in his return from an injury that caused him to miss some time last season. 

For more info: Florida Tech @ Coker Box Score 

“I think we have a lot to improve on, but getting that first win is big< Penn said. “We know that we have to climb this ladder of success and we just got up the first rung. Now we focus on the next one.”

“The next one,” as Penn put it, is a visit to Georgia, to take on Young Harris on Saturday. Game time is set for 2:00 p.m.