Golden Goal Ignites Florida Tech Panthers To Thrilling 3-2 Victory
By Florida Tech // September 24, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – The 100th minute has been rather kind to Florida Tech in its recent meetings with Sunshine State Conference rival Saint Leo.
After knocking off the Lions within the exact same minute of last year’s SSC Semifinal, the Panthers once again mustered up some magic in Wednesday’s home opener.
Behind the head of Sam Sawyer, Florida Tech avoided a near-letdown with an electrifying 3-2 overtime win at Rick Stottler Field.
“For us, it was an important game,” said head coach Robin Chan.
“We felt like we lost a couple of points over the weekend, so it was key to get three tonight against a very good team. I thought, overall, we deserved it. It was a good moment for Sam, a good moment for the team.”
Playing in front of its fans for the first time since last November, Florida Tech showed great energy from the outset. Controlling the tempo and much of the possession early on, the Panthers broke through in the 25th minute.
A low shot by Trey Collins squirted off the chest of the Saint Leo keeper and Christian Stewart arrived in time to bang home the rebound for his second goal of the season.
“We knew Saint Leo was going to come out hard with the way they’ve started the season,” Chan said. “We made it a priority to match their energy right away.”
Maintaining its 1-0 advantage into the 62nd minute, Florida Tech doubled its lead as Collins sparked the offense once again.
The former Melbourne High School standout gained possession on the right wing before he simultaneously faked out two Lions’ defenders en route to a crowd-pleasing score.
“It was a different look for us up front tonight, but it ended up working out quite well,” said Chan.
“We pushed Trey up higher and he had one of his best game’s he’s had for us.”
One of the more prolific offenses in the SSC didn’t go quietly, however.
Providing a strike that deflected off both posts, Saint Leo’s Nicolas Krause helped the Lions cut the deficit in half in the 70th minute.
Fifteen minutes later, the Lions’ Matt Campbell found himself in the right place at the right time, beating Florida Tech keeper Mitch Thorn to knot the score at two apiece.
Once in overtime, though, Florida Tech gained a second wind before Sawyer flicked in a Stewart free kick to send the fans packing Rick Stottler Field into a frenzy.
FIT will continue conference play this Saturday at 7 p.m. ET as it travels to Rollins. The Panthers upended the Tars 3-2 in double overtime in their lone matchup of 2014.