LAKELAND, Fla – Greg Griffo scored four goals, including the go ahead goal, as the University of Tampa men’s lacrosse team defeated Florida Tech 11-7 Wednesday night at Pepin Stadium. With the win the Spartans improve to 2-1 overall and 2-0 in the Deep South Conference, while the Panthers fall to 2-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play.
The Spartans struck first as Trevor Calleja won the opening faceoff. On the ensuing possession, Brian Patton made a dodge down the left side of the field and netted his first goal of the season to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead. Minutes later Joey McMahan would find Jake Schmidt cutting in front of the goal to extend Tampa’s led to 2-0 with 9:47 remaining in the first quarter. Florida Tech responded scoring four straight goals to give the Panthers a 4-2 lead. In the final seconds of the first quarter, McMahan connected with Griffo for a goal and cut the deficit to 4-3.
The Spartans carried the momentum into the second quarter as McMahan found Schmidt for the equalizer. The score remained tied until the 3:47 mark, when Griffo scored back-to-back goals to give Tampa a 6-4 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, Florida Tech took advantage of a Spartans’ penalty as Christian Isola found Alex Carlson for the man-up goal. Tampa extended their lead to 7-5 as Griffo’s shot connected with the back of the cage. Minutes later, Riley Piper’s big hit forced a Panthers turnover and set up Kyle Hemrick’s unassisted goal. Tampa won the ensuing faceoff and Ryan Becker found McMahan for the goal to put the Spartans ahead 9-6 after the third quarter.
The two teams traded goals twice in the fourth quarter for the 11-7 final.
McMahan had a goal and three assists in the game, while Schmidt tallied two goals. Marty Heyn led the Spartans with three caused turnovers and three ground balls. Goalie Joseph Fiorucci made eight saves in the win.
The Spartans will return to action Saturday, February 23, when they travel to Saint Leo to face the Lions in a DSC match-up. Game time will be 7 p.m.