MELBOURNE, Fla. (Men’s Soccer) – Junior forward Ricky Menendez headed home the game’s only goal in the 59th minute of play to give Florida Tech a 1-0 victory over Saint Leo on Saturday at Rick Stottler Field. It is the first goal the Lions have given up in regulation this season.
“We knew it would be a tight affair, and it was important to keep our concentration levels high,” head coach Robin Chan said after the match. “Saint Leo is a tough team to break down. They have good athletes that can stretch you out on the counter attack. We are happy to keep a clean sheet, and of course to get the win and points in the conference.”
FIT (5-0-2, 2-0-1 SSC) received a throw-in just below the 18-yard mark midway through the second half. Redshirt senior Robbie Russell stood on the sideline with the ball as the team set up in the box. Russell tossed the ball all the way into the box, finding Drake Hillman. Hillman popped the ball left, finding Menendez all alone for a header to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead and the eventual win.
Saint Leo (4-2, 2-2 SSC) had not allowed a single goal in regulation through its first five games. The only goal the Lions had surrendered before Saturday was in a 1-0 overtime loss to No. 1 Lynn back on Sept. 12. Saint Leo shut out four of its previous five opponents.
The teams were evenly matched on the pitch Saturday, with FIT taking a slight edge in shots, 14-13. Nine different Panthers registered a shot, including five with two shots.
Redshirt senior Brentton Muhammad (4-0-1) made three saves in his first home game since returning from World Cup qualifying play with Antigua and Barbuda. Muhammad earned his second shutout of the season, 10th of his career, on Saturday.
The Panthers travel to Winter Park on Wednesday, Sept. 26 to take on No. 25 Rollins. FIT will kick off with the Tars at Barker Family Stadium at Cahall-Sandspur Field at 7:30 p.m.