HARTSVILLE, S.C. (Men’s Soccer) – Mr. Clutch showed up for Florida Tech once again. In the 83rd minute, a cleared ball was up for grabs in the Panthers’ offensive zone. Sophomore Drake Hillman won the ball, eluded the goalkeeper, and scored on an empty net to give the Panthers a 2-1 win over previously ranked Coker on Tuesday evening at Coker Soccer Field.
Florida Tech (2-0) trailed Coker (1-2) by a score of 1-0 from the start of the second half. The Cobras scored in the 46th minute after a scoreless first session.
“The boys worked very hard for today’s result,” head coach Robin Chan said after his team completed the comeback. “Coker is a good team and they frustrated us in the first half. It took their first goal to get the response we were looking for.”
In the 70th minute, the Panthers earned a throw-in from the far side. Robbie Russell’s throw-in, reaching the six-yard box, found the head of Hillman. Hillman knocked the ball to the near side of the box where it found Gary Ogilvie. Ogilvie, with a sliding kick, poked the ball past a defender and into the lower left side of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
With less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation the game began to heat up with the teams exchanging shots. But not before the Cobras made a goalkeeping change in the 78th minute.
Coker possessed the ball in the Panthers’ zone with eight minutes remaining on the game clock. And then it happened.
The Panthers forced a turnover just outside the 18-yard box. Ogilvie collected the ball a cleared it up the right side of the pitch to where Hillman and a Cobra defender were standing. Without the ball touching the ground, Hillman out reached the defender and headed the ball towards the goal. Hillman spun around the defender and raced after the ball with the Coker goalkeeper zeroing in. With the flick of his foot, Hillman chipped the ball past the keeper and charged in for a clean strike at an empty net to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead in the 83rd minute.
“Gary and Drake’s goals were all about commitment and desire,” Chan said. “They put their bodies on the line for their teammates in every game and it showed up well for us tonight. It keeps us moving in the right direction.”
That direction is a 2-0 start to the season with a win over previously ranked [No. 18] Coker.
The Panthers will begin their home portion of the season this Saturday, Sept. 8 when they host Embry-Riddle at 4 p.m. Live stats will be available at floridatechsports.com/live.