HICKORY, N.C. – In a game with five lead changes and eight ties, Greg Griffo scored two goals in the final three minutes to give the University of Tampa men’s lacrosse team a 13-11 win over deep south conference opponent Lenoir-Rhyne Saturday afternoon at Moretz stadium. With the win the Spartans improve to 8-4 overall and 5-1 in conference play, while the Bears fall to 8-5 and 5-2 in the DSC.
Tampa got off to a quick start as Griffo found Ryan Becker for a goal two minutes into the first quarter. Less than a minute later the Spartans benefitted from a Lenoir-Rhyne own goal to go ahead 2-0. The two teams traded goals twice, before Tyler Kotch scored an unassisted goal for the Bears to cut the lead to 4-3 after the opening period.
Lenoir-Rhyne scored an unassisted goal to tie the game 4-4 to start the second quarter. The Spartans responded quickly as Matt Bilak netted his tenth goal of the season to put Tampa ahead 5-4. The Bears scored three of the next four goals to take a 7-6 lead with 2:29 remaining in the half. Tampa took advantage of a Bears penalty as Joey McMahan scored a man-up to tie the 7-7 at halftime.
The two teams continued to battle in the third quarter. After a Lenoir-Rhyne goal, McMahan and Blake Pfohl scored back-to-back goals to put Tampa ahead 9-8 with 5:50 left. The Bears scored two of the next three goals to tie the game 10-10 after the third stanza.
Just over five minutes into the fourth quarter Imari Davis scored a goal to give Lenoir-Rhyne an 11-10 advantage. Cody Prizer won the ensuing faceoff and on the Spartans possession Becker netted the equalizer with 8:33 remaining. The scored remained tied till the 2:39 mark, when Griffo scored his team-leading 20th goal of the season to give the Spartans a 12-11 advantage. Griffo tallied one more goal for the 13-11 final.
McMahan led the Spartans with three goals, while Andrew Smith dished out two assists. Trevor Calleja picked up 5 ground balls, while Jasper Gantick grabbed four. Andrew Failla made the fourth-quarter saves to earn his first career win.
The Spartans will return to action Friday, April 5, when they host Rollins College in a Deep South Conference match-up. Game time will be 8 p.m. This game will serve as the grand opening of the Naimoli Family Athletic and Intramural Complex. Prior to the game there will be the dedication of the complex and the Spartans will honor their seven seniors.
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