Panthers Defeat Mocs 11-7, Clinch SSC Tourney Berth

By  //  April 12, 2015

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Face University of Tampa Friday

Florida-Tech-Lacrosse-580-2

It was truly an incredible night for Florida Tech (11-2, 3-1 SSC) as the team honored its graduating seniors with a huge win over Florida Southern (6-8, 2-3 SSC) on Saturday at Palm Bay High School’s Pirate Stadium. (Image by Amanda Stratford Photography)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – It was truly an incredible night for Florida Tech (11-2, 3-1 SSC) as the team honored its graduating seniors with a huge win over Florida Southern (6-8, 2-3 SSC) on Saturday at Palm Bay High School’s Pirate Stadium.

The Panthers’ defense wrangled the Moccasins attackers, holding them to only two goals in the second half en route to an 11-7 victory on Senior Night.

FIT not only earned it’s first-ever win over Florida Southern, but the Panthers also clinched the program’s first postseason berth into the Sunshine State Conference Tournament.

Florida Tech received contributions across the roster in the win. Eight different players scored goals for FIT.

Ryan McAleavey

Ryan McAleavey

“Two years ago, we were watching the TV and relying on another team to help us get into the playoffs,” stated head coach Ryan McAleavey.

“Tonight we earned this spot by ourselves. It’s the greatest feeling in the world right now.”

Seniors Andrew Conley and Zach Wynne and junior Jason Terry each tallied two goals for the Panthers.

Junior Nick Wynne recorded one goal and two assists, while sophomore Charlie Morrisette added one goal and one assist.

Eric-Biller-180-2

Eric Biller

Charlie Morrisette

Charlie Morrisette

Senior Eric Biller was a machine in goal for FIT, finishing with 16 saves. Biller and fellow senior Jordan Carlock led a Panther defense that smothered the Moccasins best offensive weapons. Carlock ended the contest with a game-high five caused turnovers and six ground balls.

“Our defense was awesome in this game, just awesome,” said McAleavey.

“We were getting our shots and they just weren’t falling initially, but our defense kept shutting them down. They kept us in the game until our offense started clicking. Tom Filipow held one of the top goal scorers in the country to only two goals; he was all over him all night.”

“Eric Biller just played phenomenal. He just continued to turn shots away. Jordan Carlock was a beast on defense and is just a turnover machine,” said head coach McAleavey.

Ryan Wright put the Moccasins on the board first with an unassisted goal with 4:24 remaining in the first quarter.

Dane Sorenson followed it up with an unassisted goal of his own to put Florida Southern up 2-0 heading into the second period.

If the Panthers’ defeat the Spartans Friday, FIT will claim the No. 1 seed in the SSC Tournament on April 24-26.

Cody Gray fired in his only goal of the game to push the Mocs lead to 3-0.

The Panthers answered with consecutive goals by Terry and Morrisette to decrease the deficit to one, but Sorenson responded with his second score to increase Florida Southern’s lead to two goals.

FIT fired in two goals, by Terry and sophomore Grant Hughes, in just over a minute to tie the contest at 4-4 but Joe Caridi scored with 2:10 left in the quarter to give the Moccasins a one goal lead at the break.

Zach Wynne

Zach Wynne

Nick Wynne

Nick Wynne

Morrisette found Zach Wynne for a man-up goal to tie the game at 5-5 and less than one minute later Nick Wynne found Conley cutting on the crease for another extra man score to give the Panthers their first lead.

Conley scored again with just under three minutes remaining to push FIT’s lead to two goals, but Colin Bayer fired in a goal 15 seconds later to bring Florida Southern to within one score heading into the final quarter.

Ben Abell

Ben Abell

Sophomore Ben Abell increased the Panthers’ lead to two goals with his impressive tally off a ground ball near the Moccasins crease.

Senior Frank Schornagle stuck an absolute laser shot on the run into the top corner, and less than a minute later Nick Wynne found his brother Zach open on the crease to give FIT a 10-6 advantage.Nick Wynne buried a goal with 5:24 remaining to give the Panthers their largest lead of the game at 11-6.

Florida Southern received one more goal from Lucas Claude with 1:22 left in the fourth, but it was already too late as FIT cruised to the victory.

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The Panthers outshot the Moccasins (49-40) and won the battle for ground balls (41-31). Sophomore Travis Wunder went 13-of-22 from the faceoff X in the win.

Florida Tech travels to face the University of Tampa in its last regular season contest on Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m. ET at Pepin Stadium.

If the Panthers’ defeat the Spartans, FIT will claim the No. 1 seed in the SSC Tournament on April 24-26.

Live coverage for the game, if available, can be found at FloridaTechSports.com


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