BOCA RATON, Fla. – It has happened just six times in Sunshine State Conference history, and not since 2008, as Lynn University's top-seeded men's soccer team knocked off No. 3 seed Florida Tech 3-2 to sweep both the regular season and tournament titles. The Fighting Knights claimed the 33rd league crown for the University and No. 12 for the men's soccer program.
Chris Hellmann was named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player after he collected his 21st goal and tied a program-record with his ninth game-winner of the year. His 52 points rank in the top-3 of the nation.
Lynn's 2-0 lead looked promising late in the first half but Florida Tech (11-5-2) had other thoughts as it was playing for a potential NCAA Tournament bid. The Panthers broke down the Blue & White defense twice in the final five minutes to head to the locker room tied 2-2. Adin Kavara and Josh Thomas scored five minutes apart to give Florida Tech momentum heading into the second half.
The Fighting Knights resumed its strategy of putting high pressure on FIT and began to chip away at the Panthers' game. Lynn's tenacity finally paid off in the 68th minute when Matthias Jaenicke rushed the box before being taken down from behind to draw a penalty kick.
Hellmann stood over the ball and buried his ninth PK in 10 attempts for the eventual game-winner.
Although not credited with an assist, Hellmann started the play which gave Lynn a lead 9:18 into the match with a free kick into the box from 35-yards out. Javier Mochon logged the first header, which Tech keeper Mitch Thorn stopped, while Nicolas Mortensen tapped a pass to James Casserly for his first goal of the season.
A four-on-two breakaway attempt ended in Lynn's good fortunes in the 26th minute. Kerst Lehmann sped past his defender on the left wing with Hellmann, Mortensen and Lukas Zlatarits in pursuit through the box. Lehamann sent in a cross to his fellow white jerseys but before the ball could reach its intended target, a Panthers' defender slid across and scored an own goal to give Lynn a 2-0 lead.
Lucas Fancello turned away a career-best four shots, none more important than with the game tied in the opening minutes of the second half. Aiden Kavara found himself with the ball inside the six-yard box and took a shot on mark but Fancello made a diving point-blank save to keep the game squared at two.
Florida Tech outshot Lynn 17-10 but Lynn held a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Joining Hellmann on the SSC All-Tournament Team was Mortensen, Casserly, Fancello and Jason Sangha from Lynn, Kavara, Tobias Hildmann, Jack Willison and Josh Thomas from Florida Tech, Matthias Marzetti of Nova Southeastern and Matthias Katerna from Saint Leo.
Lynn looks to enter the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the South Region and will find out its fate on Monday at 7:30 p.m. when the NCAA announces its field during the selection show. Fans can watch live at NCAA.com and receive updates by following @Lynn_Knights on Twitter and Instagram.