WINTER PARK, Fla. (Men’s Lacrosse) – Florida Tech’s (6-6, 1-3 SSC) postseason hopes took another hit on Saturday as the Panthers continue to struggle on the road, this time letting a fourth quarter lead slip away in a 11-9 loss to Sunshine State Conference foe Rollins (9-4, 3-1 SSC) at Barker Family Stadium.
Due to the setback, FIT needs to win its regular season finale against Lynn next weekend, and have chips fall in their favor in other games around the league, if they want to secure a return trip to the SSC Tournament on Apr. 29 – May 1. Rollins, on the other hand, positioned themselves to finish in the top three in the conference standings.
Tyler Covey paced the Panthers with two goals and two assists and Cody Martin notched a hat trick. Brian Bacarella, Nick Brown, Jason Terry and Austen Zugelter each scored one goal. Five other Panthers recorded one assist apiece. Addison Abramson led FIT with four ground balls to go along with one caused turnover.
Despite the loss, Christian Koch (4-6) had his best performance of the year with a season-high 15 saves while facing 38 total shots, including 26 on goal.
A delay of game penalty against RC’s Alex Petsos on the opening faceoff gave FIT the early man-up advantage. Terry converted the opportunity, off a feed from Charlie Morrisette, to hand the Panthers a 1-0 lead just 24 seconds into the game. Justin Diamond answered for the Tars, scoring an unassisted goal and then feeding Clay Phillips for another, to push them ahead 2-1 with 4:22 left in the first. Zugelter’s goal with six seconds remaining in the quarter tied the game at 2-2.
The Panthers opened the second with a 3-1 run, including two goals by Martin, to take a 5-3 lead with 7:12 left in the half. A goal by RC in the waning minutes cut its deficit to one heading into the break.
Two quick goals to start the second half gave the Tars their first lead of the game, 6-5 at the 11:49 mark. Bacarella’s goal off the ensuing faceoff win by Ryan Land tied it back up seven seconds later. The teams exchanged the final two goals of the period to make it 7-7 at the end of three.
Brown scored to open the fourth and give FIT a one goal advantage, however the Tars answered with a man-up goal by Jeremy Slocumb to tie the game at 8-8 with 10:25 remaining. Martin’s third tally of the game made it 9-8 in favor of the Panthers but, again, RC responded with an unassisted goal by Carson Buell at the 5:00 mark.
With 1:11 left on the clock, the Panthers were called for a personal foul and the Tars wasted no time to gain a 10-9 advantage on a score by Jack Vonarb with 58 seconds remaining. Vonarb then sealed the deal with eight seconds left to give FIT its third loss in SSC action.
The Tars finished with more shots (38-24) and ground balls (31-27). Alex Petsos went 14-of-24 while taking every faceoff for Rollins.
Vonarb led RC with five points on three goals and two assists. Buell notched one goal and three assists and AJ Gogan added a goal and two assists. William Doyle (2-0) made seven saves in goal for the Tars.
Florida Tech plays its regular season finale next Saturday, Apr. 23 against Lynn at 3:30 p.m. ET. The contest represents the Panthers’ Senior Day Game, with the ceremony taking place prior to the opening faceoff. Links to live coverage will be available at FloridaTechSports.com/live.
2016 Schedule: http://www.floridatechsports.com/mlacrosse/schedule/
2016 Roster: http://www.floridatechsports.com/mlacrosse/roster/
Assistant Director of Athletic Communications
Florida Tech Athletics
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Melbourne, Fla. 32901