Panthers Fall To No. 4 Lynn, Now Wait For Tourney Call
By Florida Tech // November 10, 2014
NCAA Tournament field announced Monday
FIT’s Kavara, Thomas, Willison and Hildmann Named To SSC All-Tournament Team
BOCA RATON, FLORIDA – If there’s one word that describes the Florida Tech Panthers, it’s resilient.
After a comeback victory in the semifinal round Friday, Florida Tech rallied from two goals down to draw even with No. 4 Lynn on Sunday. However, the Panthers’ magic ran out in the second half as they eventually fell 3-2 in the Sunshine State Conference Championship at Bobby Campbell Stadium.
Florida Tech’s fate now rests in the hands of a committee, as it hopes to hear its name called when the NCAA Tournament field is announced Monday evening.
Florida Tech (11-5-2) dug itself an early hole when Lynn’s James Casserly scored off a rebound in just the 10th minute.
The errors compounded when the Panthers incidentally knocked in an own goal on a clearance attempt. Merely 26 minutes in and Florida Tech had already found itself searching for answers.
I’m proud of the boys, they gave everything today,” said head coach Robin Chan. “We had great energy and showed great determination to fight our way back into the game. It was just unfortunate the way it ended for us.”
The Panthers remained calm, though, having been in a similar situation only 48 hours prior. The Florida Tech offense found some life in the 36th minute when forward Drake Hillman nearly cut the deficit in half, but Lynn keeper Lucas Fancello made a spectacular save to kill any potential momentum.
Lynn’s defense proved penetrable once again simply moments later, when midfielder Jack Willison played a beauty just over the defender to find sophomore Adin Kavara for the spectacular header into the back of the net. The score gave Kavara a dozen goals on the season.
Not satisfied, the Crimson and Gray kept its foot on the gas. In the final minute of the opening half, a failed clearance off a corner kick found the feet of freshman Josh Thomas, who equalized seconds before the halftime whistle sounded. Thomas’ goal gave him three in the SSC Tournament, scoring once in every game.
Entering the contest, Lynn (15-1-1) had yielded just two first half goals all season, but was tied 2-2 heading into the locker room.
As the second half began, the wind picked up and so did the foul count. The referee issued seven yellows in the final 45 minutes. Three of those were given to FIT and four to Lynn.
The most significant call of the match came in the 68th minute when Kavara was booked for a foul in the box. SSC Player of the Year Chris Hellmann capitalized by drilling the penalty kick just out of the reach of keeper Mitch Thorn to give the Fighting Knights a one score advantage.
The defeat was definitely a tough pill to swallow, and now has FIT sitting on the NCAA Tournament bubble. The field will be announced in a selection show available for fans to watch on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at NCAA.com.
FIT’s Kavara, Thomas, Willison and Tobias Hildmann were named to the SSC All-Tournament Team, announced following the match.