Panthers Drop Men’s Lacrosse Heartbreaker

By  //  March 18, 2013

FIT Hosts Lenoir-Rhyne On Friday

WINGATE, NORH CAROLINA – Florida Tech scored three unanswered goals to end the first half tied at 7-7 with Wingate. The Panthers opened the third quarter with a goal just five seconds in to take the lead, but the Bulldogs tied the game late in the fourth quarter and found the game-winner in overtime to earn a 14-13 victory on Sunday.

FIT freshman Nick Gardner scored his completed fifth hat trick of the season in Florida Tech’s overtime lacrosse defeat at Wingate in North Carolina on Sunday. (image courtesy of Florida Tech)

Wingate (2-8, 1-4 DSC) scored the game’s first goal just 34 seconds into regulation, but Florida Tech (4-6, 2-3 DSC) responded with three consecutive goals over the next seven minutes to take a 3-1 lead. Freshman Brian Bacarella and sophomore Christian Isola scored back-to-back unassisted goals, and then senior Matt Durand capped the run on a pass from sophomore Andrew Conley for a man-up goal.

The Bulldogs tied the game at 3-3 before the end of the first quarter, and then opened the second with three-straight goals for five unanswered to take a 6-3 advantage with 5:55 remaining in the second quarter.

With less than three minutes remaining in the first half, Florida Tech found itself down 7-4. But the Panthers did not quit.

Freshman Nick Gardner netted his first goal of the contest with 1:48 remaining in the half on a pass from freshman Alex Carlson.

With 57 seconds remaining, Conley scored his first goal of the game to bring the Panthers within 7-6 of Wingate. Twenty-nine second later, Conley scored again to tie the game at 7-7.

Scoring a third consecutive goal, Conley gave Florida Tech an 8-7 lead just five seconds into the third quarter. Carlson set up Conley to begin the second half.

Wingate responded with a quick goal to tie the game and then took the lead back seven minutes later at 9-8.

Sophomore Mike Marshner tied the game with his fifth goal of the season with 6:10 on the clock in the third quarter, but again the Bulldogs responded with two-straight goals to take an 11-9 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Panthers were not phased.

Carlson fed Bacarella for Florida Tech’s 10th goal of the game just 1:02 into the final quarter. Two minutes later, Conley found Gardner to tie the game at 11-11, and then Durand scored an unassisted goal to give the Panthers a 12-11 lead with 10:14 left in regulation.

Wingate tied the game at 12-12 with a man-up goal, but Gardner completed a fifth hat trick of the season to give Florida Tech the lead right back at 13-12 with 4:58 remaining.

One minute later, Garrett Kendall tied the game at 13-13. Neither team found another goal in regulation to send the game into overtime.

Three minutes into the extra period, the Bulldogs’ Taylor Womble scored his fourth goal of the game to give Wingate a 14-13 victory.

Conley led the Panthers with three goals and two assists, while Durand and Gardner also recorded hat tricks. Carlson finished with a game-high three assists for the second time this season.

Junior Eric Biller record 17 saves in the loss to total 36 saves during the weekend trip to North Carolina.

Florida Tech will return home to face Deep South foe Lenoir-Rhyne on Friday, March 22. The Panthers and Bears will faceoff at 7 p.m. at Melbourne Central Catholic’s Hustler Stadium.