Fiery Panthers Gain First Win in Home Opener
MELBOURNE, Fla. (Men’s Soccer) – The Florida Tech Panthers pushed their record to 1-4-1 with the team’s first win of
the season in the home-opener against the Flagler Saints. Head coach Robin
Chan was pleased with the vigor of his team in the match. “I could tell they were determined right away in this match,” Chan said.
“They had the attitude where enough is enough and it was time to roll up the sleeves and pull out a win.” Freshman Conor Killeen scored the first
goal for Flagler off an assist from Luke Sturgis late in the seventh minute. Freshman goalkeeper Chris Herte, playing in the first match
of his collegiate career, just missed the save in the one-on-one. However, he made sure it was the last of the scoring for the Saints in the 2-1 match as
he made four saves on the day and his team scored two unanswered goals to give him support. “I’m very proud of my team in front of me,” Herte said.
“This win is very important because it starts our forward momentum and we can build from here.” Florida Tech was able to tie the game just before
the 27th minute when freshman forward Carl Sullivan scored for the Panthers
thanks to an assist from freshman forward Nicolas Garcia, who also saw his first
action of the season for the Panthers on Wednesday. “Nicolas is a talented player, and he obviously makes a big difference,” Chan said. While
Garcia, Herte and freshman forward Stephane Leys did see some of their
first minutes for the Panthers, there were a number of other players injured. The lineup changed, but the main change Chan saw was in the attitude of the
Panthers. “The players had a combative spirit today, and I like that,” Chan said. “It’s that attitude that can win a game. Really, I think that
mentality was the clear difference in this match compared to our others.” Their never-give-up attitude showed in what turned out to be quite a
physical match. The second goal scored by the Panthers was a case where the team simply would not be denied. Florida Tech was awarded a corner kick which
freshman midfielder Tyson Eyo placed high in
front of the net. Freshman defender Dean Faithfull ran from the top of the
box and skied to head the ball in for the winning goal. “You could see it in his face. He just took off as soon as the ball was in the air and
wouldn’t be denied,” Chan said. The team can gain some positive momentum from this win according to Chan. They will need it with tough opponents
ahead. They play the University of Tampa at 4 p.m. Sunday in Melbourne and travel to Boca Raton, Fla. to take on Lynn University on Wednesday, Sept. 19.