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Late Goal Sinks Panthers, 13-12
Andrew Conley scored two goals and now now has four on the season. Photo by Amanda Stratford Photography.
Andrew Conley scored two goals and now now has four on the season. Photo by Amanda Stratford Photography.
BELMONT, N.C. (Men’s Lacrosse) – A goal with 34 seconds remaining in regulation ended hopes of a 2-0 start for Florida Tech (1-1) as Belmont Abbey College (1-1) held on despite the Panthers’ fierce comeback, 13-12, on Wednesday afternoon at Alumni Field.

Down 12-10 in the closing minutes of the game, Alex Carlson scored his first goal of the season with 2:03 left to play to cut FIT’s deficit to one goal. With 53 seconds remaining, Austen Zugelter found the net for the second time in the game and fifth goal of the season to tie the game at 12-12. However, the rally fell just short as the Crusaders scored with less than 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter and earned their first victory of the season, 13-12.

FIT is now 1-1 on the season and 1-2 against Belmont Abbey while the Crusaders improved to 1-1 following its double overtime loss to Sunshine State Conference member Rollins College (1-0) on Sunday. Brian Bacarella led all Panthers with four goals and now has nine in the first two games of the season. Zugelter and Andrew Conley each scored twice and Travis Wunder won 22-of-29 faceoffs. Eric Biller (1-1) made seven saves but was charged with the loss to fall to 7-8 in his FIT career.

The Panthers struck first as an unassisted goal by CJ Nichols in the opening minutes of the game gave Florida Tech a 1-0 lead. The first quarter was all BAC with the Crusaders leading 4-1 but goals by Isola and Bacarella closed out the stanza with Belmont Abbey leading 4-3. Conley scored the second quarter’s first goal to tie the game at 4-4 and the Panthers headed into halftime tied at 6-6 with the Crusaders.

A close game throughout the second half, FIT tied the contest at 9-9 with one minute remaining in the third stanza after Conley’s second goal of the game. BAC looked to run away with the game until the Panthers’ back-to-back goals tied the game at 12-12 with less than one minute remaining. The Crusaders escaped with their first victory following Connor Sears’ fifth goal of the game, the most crucial goal of the contest, with less than 34 seconds remaining in the third-ever meeting between the two programs.

FIT returns to action on Saturday, March 1 at Queens College of Charlotte (0-2). The matinee game marks the first ever meeting between the Panthers and the Royals. QC fell to now No. 7 University of Tampa (2-0) and No. 5 Limestone College (3-0).
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