MELBOURNE, Fla. (Men’s Soccer) – It took nine years for Florida Tech and Embry-Riddle to meet for a fifth contest, and the two squads made up for lost time. The match saw eight cautions, including three red cards, and nine goals. The Panthers found two goals from Gary Ogilvie in the final seven minutes to escape with a 5-4 victory on Saturday at Rick Stottler Field.
With the fourth lead change in the 66th minute, visiting Embry-Riddle (1-2) took a 4-3 lead on a penalty kick by Alexander McDonald. McDonald was taken down in the box on a scoring chance.
The game began to get physical and heated up in the final 10 minutes.
In the 81st minute, the Eagles’ Marcus Starke was ejected from the game after receiving a red card for a dangerous tackle. FIT (3-0) was given a man advantage for the final nine minutes of play.
Two minute later, the Panthers found the equalizer to tie the game for a fourth time. Drake Hillman, who was the Panthers’ hero in the first two games of the season, won the ball in a scrum in front of the Eagles’ goal crease. Hillman kicked the ball loose and found the foot of Ogilvie, from just three yards out, to tie the game at 4-4 in the 83rd minute.
“Drake did what he has done all year, working hard in the box,” Ogilvie said about the set up of the Panthers’ fourth goal. “He won a second ball and it bounced to me from three yards out and it was an easy tap-in.”
The play must have been the exchange of who was going to be FIT’s next hero. Ogilvie then found himself on the penalty dot for a penalty kick in the 88th minute.
Yannis Pele, in his first game back from a preseason injury, took on an Eagle defender inside the six-yard box and was hauled down on his way to the goal. The referee rushed over to signal the penalty kick, and the Panther faithful stood up with a cheer.
Ogilvie, electing to take the kick, stood still and waited for the whistle. With two steps, Ogilvie drilled the ball left side to beat the goalkeeper and give the Panthers a 5-4 lead with two minutes to play.
“Great skill from Yannis,” Ogilvie said on Pele setting up the penalty kick. “He brought the ball down and took a defender on and it was a clear-cut penalty. I stepped up, was really confident and just slotted it bottom left in the corner.”
FIT held on to the fifth lead change of the game to remain undefeated on the season at 3-0.
“It was definitely a game for the neutral [fan],” head coach Robin Chan said about the match. “There were lots of goals and lots of opportunities. The mentality we had to come back, which we did, and to go on to win the game in the final stages is an important for us.”
The Panthers trailed just five minutes into the game, but quickly tied it up in the eighth minute. Ricky Menendez collected a pass from Robbie Russell and beat the goalkeeper from eight yards out to tie the game at 1-1.
Antoine Aupiais gave FIT its first lead of the game just five minutes later. Russell, from the right side of the goal, sent a throw-in into the box. Without a bounce, the ball found the head of Aupiais, who was streaking in from the left side, for a beautiful header just below the cross bar and in.
The Eagles responded three minutes later with a nicely placed header of their own to tie the game at 2-2. But Aupiais, scoring his second goal of the game, put the Panthers back in front.
Embry-Riddle turned the ball over with a sloppy pass that found Aupiais all alone on the left side. Aupiais struck the ball cleanly, finding the back of the net, to give FIT a 3-2 lead in the 18th minute.
Freshman Hunter Hein (1-0) earned his first collegiate start in goal with redshirt senior Brentton Muhammad joining his country, Antigua and Barbuda, for two FIFA World Cup qualifiers over the next week. Hein recorded four saves to get his first collegiate win.
Embry-Riddle now holds a 3-2 all-time series lead over FIT. The last meeting on Sept. 15, 2003 saw the Eagles win by a score of 4-2.
The Panthers continue their homestand on Wednesday, Sept. 12 when they host Tampa at 4 p.m. The first of two contests with the Spartans this season will be a non-conference matchup. Live stats and audio will be available to those who cannot make it to Rick Stottler Field at http://bit.ly/P60qNL.