The Florida Tech lacrosse team faced their second straight ranked opponent on Monday, losing to eighth-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne 13-8. This coming on the heels of their OT victory over #17 Belmont Abbey on Saturday.
This was the second time Florida Tech and Lenoir-Rhyne have met on Valentine’s Day. The Panthers won 15-12 on this day in 2015. With this victory, the Bears lead the all-time series 5-2.
Florida Tech (1-2) put up a game effort against the Bears in this one, but couldn’t overcome the seven-point, five-goal effort by Toron Eccleston.
The Panthers were led by Zach Rozgonyi and Ben Claffee who both had two goals and an assist for the Panthers, and two goals from Bennett Duffy.
Panthers goalie John Hulsman made 12 saves, and kept this game close early, deserving a better outcome. Noah Johnson made 11 saves for the home team, a great effort from him as well.
L-R went up 2-0 just before the midway point of the first quarter before Claffee got the Panthers on the board with 5:20 to go in the quarter. The Bears scored the last three goals of the period, including Eccleston’s second of the day with 6.3 seconds left, after the Bears killed much of the clock for the last shot.
Duffy closed the gap to 5-2 with a goal 32 seconds into the second quarter. Will Canata answered for the Bears, to make it 6-2 and Eccleston hat trick goal came with 5:40 to go, making it a five-goal game.
The Panthers offense started rolling late in the half, getting three goals in the span of 1:48, Claffee and Duffy got their second of the day 26 seconds apart, and Justin Williams found the back of the net with 1:57 to go, closing the gap to 7-5
As they did in the first quarter, the Bears got another late goal with Canata scoring with 10.5 seconds left, giving the Bears a three-goal lead.
Rozgonyi scored two goals 32 seconds apart to start the third quarter. The second of those came on the man-up after an illegal check on the Bears. That closed the gap to 8-7 and gave the Panthers six out of the last seven goals scored.
Eccleston put an end to the Panthers’ comeback chances with his fourth of the day to make it 9-7. That was the first of four straight goals for L-R, making it 12-7. Collin Stewart got the Panthers’ last goal with 10:25 to go, but the Bears’ defense clamped down and Eccleston’s big day concluded with goal number five, coming with 2:46 remaining.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Lenoir-Rhyne
This game was very even statistically, with Florida Tech holding a 40-35 shots advantage. The Bears had 25 shots on goal, to the Panthers 19. Turnovers were even at 18, as were ground balls with each team scooping up 27.
Lenoir-Rhyne won 13 at the faceoff X with the Panthers winning 11. Each team was 2-for-6 on the man-up.
Florida Tech will play their third game in seven days when they host Flagler at 11:00 on Saturday.