Florida Tech Edges Belmont Abbey in Overtime

MELBOURNE, Fla. – Belmont Abbey entered the game unblemished with three of its four wins over DSC opponents. The Crusaders scored three unanswered goals in the final three minutes of regulation to tie Florida Tech at 11-11. But it was sophomore Andrew Conley, who scored his fifth goal of the game just 1:51 into the overtime period, to give the Panthers a 12-11 victory on Wednesday at Hustler Stadium.

“The best part about tonight's game was that we fought together as a team,” head coach Ryan McAleavey said. “We weren't getting things done on the defensive side of the field, but the offense picked it up. We got the turnover we needed [in overtime] and we were able to capitalize.”

Belmont Abbey (4-1) cut Florida Tech's (4-2) lead to 8-7 less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, but the Panthers quickly pushed their lead to three goals.

Conley won a clean faceoff, ran into the offensive zone and scored his fourth goal of the contest to give FIT a 9-7 lead. Conley finished the game 6 of 9 from the faceoff circle.

Three minutes later, reigning DSC Freshman of the Week Nick Gardner delivered his second goal of the contest on a pass from senior Matt Durand to give FIT the 10-7 advantage with 6:19 remaining in regulation.

But the Crusaders did not go away.

Dan Morrissey completed a hat trick with 4:40 remaining to cut the Panthers' lead to 10-8. Then sophomore Mike Marshner scored his second goal of the season to push FIT's lead back to three.

With three minutes remaining, Belmont Abbey made its move.

The Crusaders scored three unanswered goals in a span 1:11 to tie the game at 11-11 with 1:49 left on the clock. Belmont Abbey registered the only shot over the final two minutes, which went wide as the clock expired to force overtime.

Belmont Abbey won the faceoff to begin the overtime period and controlled the ball in its offensive zone for over a minute. Then the turnover FIT needed happened.

With 2:35 left in the first overtime, freshman defender Severin Windsor knocked Morrissey off the ball allowing junior goalie Eric Biller to collect the ground ball and begin the clear. The Panthers gained the offensive zone and called a timeout.

“I knew I was going to get the ball [after the timeout],” Conley said. “Coach pointed me out in the huddle. I got the ball at the start of the possession and knew I was going to take it in for a shot. The defender gave me the roll back and I knew I had to finish the shot.”

With 2:09 left on the clock, Conley did just that. The 6-foot attackmen spun around the defender and whipped the ball left side to beat the Crusaders' goalie and send the FIT faithful into a cheering frenzy.

“Andrew [Conley] is a very special player and we knew that when we recruited him,” McAleavey said. “First thing we said in the huddle was that we are calling on number 22, and he stepped and delivered.”

Conley finished the game with a career- and game-high five goals. Gardner finished with two goals, while Brian Bacarella, Ryan Bailey, Durand, Chris Fellini and Marshner each added a goal for the Panthers.

Biller (4-2) recorded 13 saves, including 10 in the first half.

FIT will welcome Mount Olive to Hustler Stadium on Saturday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m. It will be the first-ever meeting between the Panthers and the Trojans.

* * * *

Florida Tech's Andrew Conley scored the game-winning goal 2:09 into the first overtime as the Panthers earned a 12-11 win over the Belmont Abbey Crusaders in action Wednesday evening in Melbourne, Florida. Florida Tech improves to 4-2, while the Crusaders suffer their first loss as they drop to 4-1.

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2013-03-06



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