Belmont Abbey sophomore attackman Connor Sellars scored the winning goal with 34 seconds left, and goalkeeper Brett Lawless staved off Florida Tech's tying chance in the final three seconds as the Crusaders men's lacrosse team earned a thrilling 13-12 win this afternoon at Alumni Field. Both teams are now 1-1 on the season.
The two teams entered halftime tied at six, but the Crusaders outscored the Panthers 7-4 in the final 30 minutes, including 4-3 in the final period.
The final period began with the two teams tied at nine, and the Abbey's Riley Quinlan put the Crusaders ahead one with a score. After the Panthers immediatelly tied the game at ten, the Abbey offense surged ahead with two straight, starting with Joey McGinley's laser at the 9:40 mark.
3:36 later, Sellars found the back of the net for the fourth time, as he muscled through the Panthers defense and beat Eric Biller to stretch the Crusader lead to a pair at 12-10.
Undeterred, the Panthers stormed right back, as they pulled one back at the 2:53 on an Alex Carlson netter.
Lastly, in the final minute, with 53 seconds left, Austen Zugelter tied the game for the final time with an unassisted strike.
Kevin Costa won the ensuing faceoff as he collected the ground ball. The Crusaders set up their offense and ran down the clock until Scotty Steele fed Sellars, who beat two defenders and slid the winning shot past Biller with 34 seconds left as he was knocked to the ground.
Florida Tech had one more chance, as the Panthers won the faceoff and called a timeout with 21 seconds left to set up the final play.
After the stoppage, the Panthers ran the clock down and with three seconds left, the Panthers made their move as C.J. Nichols was all alone with possession as he met Lawless at the top of the crease. On Florida Tech's 41st and final shot, Lawless stopped the point blank shot with the ball bouncing away as time expired.
Lawless stopped nine shots, caused one turnover and scooped up six ground balls. Sellars finished with five goals on nine shots. Quinlan totaled three and McGinley netted a pair. Max Mullin, Will Chastain (his first career goal) and Steele all had one. Steele totaled a pair of assists.
Defensively, Devin Cruz caused a pair of turnovers as the Abbey totaled seven on the afternoon.
The win gives the Abbey a 2-1 lead in the series, which began in 2012.