SAINT LEO, Fla. (Men’s Soccer) – For the second time this season, Florida Tech defeated Saint Leo to take the season series twos-game-to-none. The Panthers took a 3-0 lead before the Lions scored late to give FIT a 3-1 win at University Field on Wednesday.
“It was good to get some separation between us and Saint Leo,” head coach Robin Chan said of the three-goal lead. “It is the first time this year we have had that much separation. We have played a lot of close games. We were happy with the offensive side of things.”
Florida Tech (7-3-3, 2-3-2 SSC) earned the game’s first goal off a Gary Ogilvie corner kick in the 25th minute. But no one in crimson and gray was awarded a point. The ball soared into the box off Ogilvie’s foot and was punched into the goal by Saint Leo’s goalkeeper to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
The Lions (6-6, 3-4 SSC) outshot the Panthers in the first half, 5-1, but FIT goalkeeper Mitch Thorn (1-1-1) kept the sheet clean. Thorn made two saves in the fourth and 23rd minutes on straight-on shots by Saint Leo.
In the 59th minute, the Panthers extended their lead to 2-0. Sophomore Yannis Pele sent a pass up the left side to Antoine Aupiais, who was streaking towards the goal. Aupiais crossed a low pass to the opposite of the box for a tap-in by Drake Hillman for his fifth goal of the season.
Aupiais secured FIT’s victory in the 76th minute with an unassisted goal.
Redshirt Senior Robbie Russell sent the initial pass across the field to the near side to find Aupiais. But Aupiais did the rest. The sophomore from Ajaccio, France took a jab step to the left, then moved the ball right and curled a shot into the upper right corner of the goal. The ball was so perfectly placed that the opposing keeper stood and watched it go over his left shoulder.
Thorn finished the game with a season-high five saves to earn his first collegiate victory.
“[Mitch] has a lot of great qualities as a keeper,” Chan said. “He has shown that and we felt confident coming in that he would get the job done even with Brentton [Muhammad] arriving just before game time.”
Muhammad arrived just before the start of the game after flying in from Jamaica. The redshirt senior goalkeeper was a reserve for Antigua and Barbuda in the World Cup qualifier against Jamaica last evening. It was Muhammad’s fourth World Cup qualifier call up this year.
FIT won the first of two meetings on Sept. 22 at Rick Stottler Field by a score of 1-0.
The Panthers return home on Saturday, Oct. 20 when they play host to Barry in the final conference game of the season. The game is slated to begin at 3:30 p.m.