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Lynn vs. Tampa In Pictures and a Very Special Homecoming

Written by Lee Roggenburg on . Posted in .
  Saturday night meant making a choice in the Boca area if you wanted to catch a lacrosse game in the area. Up the road in Delray Lake Highland Prep played Boys’ Latin of the MIAA in what normally is a huge headline matchup for the state. And a few miles south of that the surprising Lynn Knights were hosting conference rival Tampa, ranked #5 in the USILA D2 polls.  Lynn had appeared in the poll twice but just dropped out last week.  This was arguably the biggest game in Lynn’s program history, certainly the biggest home game ever. For some strange reason both were scheduled for 5:00pm.  Would have loved for Lynn to host both games but their grass field went through some changes early in the year and it really can’t take a doubleheader yet.  Hopefully it will be ready by next season and that doubleheader would be really attractive. So what to do? Try to split the difference? No. One thing I certainly wanted to do was to get up to Delray early to say hello to Coach Chris Spaulding.  It’s been a rollercoaster for his team this year and I didn’t have any great expectations for the game given how his team’s game with McDonogh went. But there was one reason I did want to get up there just to talk to him.  A few days after the LNN Classic at Oxbridge Chris received some great news. His wife gave birth again. Mom and child are doing fine. Not yet sleeping through the night. Of course, Chris probably isn’t one who sleeps through the night with his team struggling like this either. But father is fine even if coach is not . . . Congrats to Chris and his wife!  
  Having accomplished that it freed me up for the game I wanted to see anyhow. Coach Brian Kingsbury has worked wonders at Lynn . . . only in their third season . . . and 6-2 coming into this one with the losses to #1 Limestone and a one-goal heart breaker to Lenoir-Rhyne.  Quite a year period, not just for a third-year startup program.  And it’s not like the conference is weak. Tampa is an interesting story too.  7-1 coming in with a loss to Limestone the only blemish. The program is only 5 years old.  Made it to the NCAA D2 semifinals in 2014 and made the tournament (8 teams) last year.  A head coach in Rory Whipple who is well known down here.   And an interesting sub-plot. Two kids who made their reputations in high school playing about 2 miles apart if you take Potomac but about 1 mile as the crow flies. Both All-Americans.  Both Division One recruits.  Both transferred back to Florida . . . one this summer and one the previous winter. Neither has bothered to look back and wonder if the right decision was made. One never lost to the other in high school. But the other would gladly have traded a win on Saturday for those losses. Local fans know who I am talking about but for the other readers they are Conor Whipple (Tampa and Saint Andrew’s) while the other is Mikey Urso (Lynn and Saint John Paul II)  
  They both put on a show Saturday   Mikey went 3G/1A . . . and all 3 goals were in the first as Lynn jumped out to a 6-2 lead after one. Boca Raton suits him pretty well   Unfortunately for Lynn, and again for Mikey, Boca suited Conor even more Both Tampa goals in the first A natural hat trick, all unassisted, in the second as Tampa made it 9-9 at the half His only assist in the third for a 10-10 tie after three And then ANOTHER natural hat trick, all unassisted, in the fourth to help lead Tampa to the 15-10 final Eight goals and one assist Quite the homecoming . . . If he moves to Boca after graduation he should be buying Powerball tickets every week.  I’ll put up half the ticket cost.  
  Can Lynn turn the tide in a conference rematch?  Three of the remaining four games in the conference are on the road. And as said before, this is a tough conference. And for now Mikey will have to look forward to beating his friendly high school rival, instead of looking back at mission accomplished . . . What would be sweeter for him than to have that happen in the conference tourney?   For us fans in attendance, any doubt this was the best college lacrosse game ever played in Boca? They are back in action against MIT on Wednesday at 7:00pm. Against another homecoming player Harris Stolzenberg of Pine Crest. Oh, add one more . . . Eddy Garcia-Montes of Ransom Everglades Sorry, add another . . . Bobby Rauch of Saint Andrew’s. Attendance is free . . . One note . . . to the Lynn student body . . . get your butts out there, your baseball team isn’t ranked, your lacrosse team is pretty close. Choose better.