Panthers men end 30 year drought, women advance for first time since 2010

By Official Florida FC

Fabio Amaral scored Florida Tech’s biggest goal in three decades with his 110th minute goal Saturday afternoon in South Carolina.

Amaral’s goal helped the Panthers advance to the NCAA Division II semifinals for the first time since 1993. Florida Tech beat Limestone University 3-2 after extra time to cap off a NCAA Tournament run where they have conceded first in every game.

Amaral equalized in the 60th minute to help Florida Tech get back into the game. Sjur Drechsler scored for the second straight game the 69th to give Florida Tech (13-2-5) its first lead.

Limestone equalized in the 75th minute to set the stage for the senior forward from Brazil. Despite leading the Panthers with 10 goals this season, he hadn’t scored in seven games.

All is forgiven now.

Florida Tech’s women’s program will join the men in this week’s national semifinals.

The Panthers (17-2-5) pulled off a wilder result with its 5-4 win over previously unbeaten Lenoir-Rhyne (17-1-5).

Florida Tech held a four-goal lead less than a half-hour into the match, but needed an 87th minute-game winner to advance to the national semifinals for the first time since 2010.

Marem Ndiongue scored the opener in the 11th minute and Florida Tech’s fourth in the 30th minute.

From there, the Panthers imploded, conceding goals in the 37th, 57th, 59th and 62nd minutes.

Then-Flagler College midfielder Josefine Nilsen puts in an early cross during the Peach Belt Conference Tournament final on Saturday, April 10, 2021.(Photo by Will Brown)

Though the Panthers program had not appeared in the national semifinals in 13 years, senior forward Josefine Nielsen has. Nielsen transferred to Florida Tech after earning her degree from Flagler College. She was a freshman on Flagler’s 2019 team that was unbeaten until the national semifinals.

Nielsen fired on goal, Kate Frazier tapped in the rebound and the Panthers had their breakthrough.

Both the Florida Tech women and men play on Thursday night.

The women face Point Loma Nazarene University (15-3-1) at 11 a.m. The men will face Colorado State Pueblo (17-4-3) at 8 p.m.