MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Tampa Men’s Lacrosse Wins First National Championship!
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – The University of Tampa men’s lacrosse team reached new heights on Sunday when the Spartans captured the program’s first NCAA Division II National Championship, leading throughout against Mercy. UT becomes the southernmost school in the nation to win a men’s lacrosse title, as head coach J.B. Clarke captured his fourth national championship.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Final: No. 1 Tampa 11, No. 2 Mercy 7
Records: Tampa Spartans (21-0), Mercy Mavericks (16-2)
Location: Rentschler Field at Pratt & Whitney Stadium || East Hartford, Conn.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Spartans netted the first score of the contest, coming on a Daniel Fitzpatrick goal just over three minutes into the matchup. Tampa would carry the 1-0 lead until Mercy’s Matt Eccles knotted the score at 1-1 with 2:55 to play in the quarter. Those were the lone goals of the opening 15 minutes as each team had six turnovers.
11:32 – Daniel Fitzpatrick (unassisted)
Score: 1-1 Tie
Tampa, who scored goals in bunches throughout the season, needed less than eight minutes to rattle off six straight goals to grab a 7-1 lead with 7:26 to play until halftime. National Player and Defender of the Year Matthew Beddow gave the Spartans the lead, just 19 seconds into the quarter as Christian Borodiak assisted the score. Cole Willard would score three of the next five goals for Tampa, while Owen Miller would be credited with a goal and assist during the Spartan run. Luke McAnaney also netted a Spartan goal. With 5:26 to play until break, Mercy scored the first of three goals as Mavericks trimmed the lead to 7-4. Fitzpatrick would come away with a critical goal with 2:01 to play before half, seizing the momentum and putting the Spartans up 8-4. The lead would stay the same as the teams went to halftime.
14:41 – Matthew Beddow (Christian Borodiak)
13:16 – Cole Willard (Owen Miller)
11:59 – Cole Willard (unassisted)
11:15 Owen Miller (unassisted)
8:37 Luke McAnaney (Harry Kilkowski)
7:26 Cole Willard (Daniel Fitzpatrick)
2:01 Daniel Fitzpatrick (unassisted)
Score: 8-4 Tampa
Over five minutes passed in the third quarter before Tampa was first team on the board, courtesy of McAnaney. The goal had a familiar assist as Miller tallied his second assist of the contest. Mercy refused to back down, scoring a pair of goals to trim the Spartan lead to three, at 9-6. Willard proved to be too much as he scored at 5:18 from Miller, giving the Spartans a 4-goal lead that they would hold for the remainder of the period. Tampa would register a game-high 12 shots in the third period, though Mercy goalkeeper Tommy Umano kept the Mavericks in the game with five saves in the third.
9:40 – Luke McAnaney (Owen Miller)
5:18 – Cole Willard (Owen Miller)
Score: 10-6 Tampa
Both teams picked up their defensive efforts in the final 15 minutes, with a combined 13 turnovers in the period. Tampa would force six Mercy turnovers, as the Mavericks defense came away with seven takeaways. Spartan goalkeeper Blake Ulmer came away with three crucial saves as Mercy was only able to net one goal in the fourth. The Maverick goal was match by an unassisted goal from Fitzpatrick, who sealed the national championship for the Spartans at 3:08.
3:08 – Daniel Fitzpatrick (unassisted)
Score: 11-7 Tampa
INSIDE THE STATS:
- A total of seven Spartans scored a point, with four players having a role in multiple goals.
- Willard made the most of his opportunities, scoring four goals while taking five shots in the game. He finished the season with a total of eight goals in the final two games of the season, the national semifinal and championship.
- Fitzpatrick scored the first and last goal of the game for Tampa, finishing with three goals and one assist.
- McAnaney added a pair of goals.
- Miller turned in a well-rounded effort with a goal and team-high three assists.
- Ulmer moved to 21-0 on the season as the nation’s top goalkeeper had nine saves. The all-time leader in program history in saves finished the 2022 season with 298 saves and now stands at 414 in his Spartan career.
- Also scoring a goal, Beddow was at his best with a team-high three caused turnovers.
- Hunter Turner had 11 groundballs, winning 13-of-22 faceoffs for Tampa.
BEYOND THE BOX:
- Tampa finished off its first undefeated season in program history, at 21-0.
- This marks the fourth national championship for head coach J.B. Clarke, who is undefeated with Tampa after being named the school’s second head coach on July 20, 2021.
- 16 of UT’s 21 victories came over nationally-ranked opponents.
- The Spartans outscored three top-five opponents in the NCAA tournament by a combined score of 43-26.
- Ryan Sullivan‘s defense held its final two opponents to single digits as UT outscored Limestone and Mercy by a score of 30-15.
- The national championship comes in the 11th season for Tampa men’s lacrosse.
- UT is the first Sunshine State Conference school to win a men’s lacrosse crown.
- Tampa now has 21 national championships as a University.
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