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.
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:
BEYOND THE BOX:
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Be sure to follow @TampaSpartans on all socials for up-to-date information on University of Tampa Athletics. Please give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and use our official hashtag, StandAsOne.
TEXT ALERTS: UT also offers a free text messaging service that sends text alerts following all Spartan events. To sign up, please register at www.tampaspartans.com.