Florida Tech Outguns Shorter for First-Ever Victory

MELBOURNE, Fla. Florida Tech won its first game in the program's inaugural season Saturday afternoon, defeating Shorter, 15-13, in its regular-season home finale at Hustler Stadium.

The Panthers (1-9) had to stage off a persistent Shorter (5-6) offense, which came within one goal of tying the game in the final seven minutes. However, with 1:28 to play, Christian Isola found Ryan Bailey to give FIT a two-goal lead. Bailey finished the game with four goals and four assists for eight points.

"A win is a win," head coach Ryan McAleavey said. "It wasn't pretty, but we got it. The guys played hard and they were resilient. They wanted this win really bad and they kept fighting for it.

"Ryan has been working really hard to develop his shot. Last year, he was second in the country with 88 assists. He was never really called on to score goals. We've asked him to be a double threat. He and I have worked after practice for hours trying to get him to become a better shooter. He just exploded today. He had the hot hand and got it done."

FIT held a 2-0 lead after the opening 51 seconds on goals by Patrick Manning and Isola. Although Shorter faced its largest deficit, eight goals, with 7:53 to play in the third quarter, it mounted a comeback.

After Hunter Rodgers scored at the 10:37 mark of the fourth quarter, Panther goalie Mason Cook received a one-minute penalty for an illegal body check. To compound the situation, FIT also received a 30-second team technical, which Cook served.

As a result of the penalties, Andrew Conley strapped on the goalie pads for the first time this season. He faced an array of shots, making one save. The Hawks' Kyle Morris, however, roped a shot into the net to make it a three-goal game with 8:40 on the clock. As hard as it tried, Shorter was unable to score after cutting its deficit to one.

"We don't have a backup goalie right now," McAleavey said. "Andrew was adamant about stepping in and he wanted to shut them down. He wouldn't let anyone else step in the net. Andrew wanted this [opportunity] so bad and I had no other choice, but to put him in the cage. That's why we have him."

Isola and Manning scored three goals apiece. Isola also had two assists. Dominic Troese had four of the team's 27 groundballs.

The Panthers were efficient in their extra man opportunities, scoring five times in eight chances. They were 3 for 3 in the second quarter.

FIT will play its final four regular-season games on the road starting with Coker on March 23 at 7:00 p.m. and concluding with Florida Southern on April 4 at 7:00 p.m.


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