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NCAA D2 Tourney: Tampa Spartans Battle Saint Leo Lions in NCAA Quarterfinals

  via UT press release   TAMPA, Fla. – The No. 7 University of Tampa men’s lacrosse team will travel to St. Leo, Florida where they will face the No. 6 Saint Leo University Lions in the NCAA Quarterfinals. This is the first time these two teams have met in the tournament and is Tampa’s fifth consecutive time earning a seed in the championship. The championship provides for an 8-team tournament. Four teams from each of the two regions (North and South) are selected to participate in the men’s lacrosse championship. Except for the championship game, all games will be played on the campus of one of the competing teams. The Matchup: No. 7 University of Tampa (15-4, 5-2 SSC) vs. No. 6 Saint Leo University (14-2, 7-0 SSC) Date/Time: Saturday, May 12th at 1:00 p.m. Location:  University Turf Stadium | St. Leo, Fla. Last Time Out: The then ranked No. 9 Spartans defeated the then No. 5 Lions 8-6 in the Sunshine State Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday, April 29. In the battle, sophomore Bryan Wright led UT offensively with four goals, followed by Kansai Garey who had one goal and one assist. Wright was also one of the Spartans biggest threats on defense, leading the team in caused turnovers with two, in addition to picking up four ground balls. Also on defense, senior Blaine Birch notched three ground balls and one caused turnover in the contest. Face-off specialist Ross Dickerson won an outstanding 16 of the 17 faceoffs he took giving the Spartans the first possession on nearly every occasion, while freshman goalkeeper B.J. Borowski recorded 14 saves in the contest. Winning against the Lions, gave the Spartans their fifth consecutive SSC Tournament title. Due to their stellar performances in the tournament, Andrew KewLuke PosnerB.J. BorowskiBryan Wright, and Ross Dickerson were honored to the SSC All-Tournament team. Additionally, Dickerson was voted the most outstanding player. About the Spartans: Tampa is currently 15-4 overall, and was 5-2 in the Sunshine State Conference. Highlights for the Spartans this season come from defeating six nationally ranked opponents, including the No. 1 Limestone College Saints 12-10, the No. 7 NYIT Bears 10-9, the No. 10 Belmont Abbey Crusaders 13-12, the No. 16 Lindenwood Lions 12-6, the No. 16 Florida Tech Panthers 19-12, and the No. 5 Saint Leo Lions 8-6. This will be Tampa’s fifth consecutive season making an NCAA tournament appearance. After losing last season in the NCAA Semifinals, the Spartans are hungry to advance to the NCAA Finals and win the programs first national championship. About the Lions: The Lions are currently 14-2 overall, and won the Sunshine State Conference with a perfect record of 7-0. The teams only two losses this season have come from the No. 16 University of Mount Olive 12-9, and in their most recent game against the No. 7 University of Tampa 8-6. Offensively, the Lions are led by #42 Kyle Pauwels, #52 Charlie Kurtenbach and #31 Jake Gilmour. Pauwels leads Saint Leo with 50 goals and 14 assists this season, while Kurtenbach has 38 goals and 26 assists, and Gilmour has 31 goals and 37 assists. Ethan Ticehurst and Jake Bye head the team on defense with 23 and 22 caused turnovers respectively. Jordan Williams is the team’s primary faceoff specialist with a record thus far of 144-311, he also leads the team in groundballs with 58. The Lions use #32 Thomas Tatarian as their primary goalkeeper. Currently, Tatarian has 218 saves and has a goals-against average of 9.00. Series History (Men’s): The Spartans lead the all-time series over the Lions 7-2.