TAMPA, Fla. – In its first ever collegiate lacrosse game, the University of Tampa defeated Florida Southern College 7-4, in a Deep South Conference battle. Tampa goes to 1-0 on the season while Southern drops to 0-1.
UT President Dr. Ronald Vaughn and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn were on hand to welcome college lacrosse to Tampa, serving in a pre-game ceremony in front of 2,100 fans.
The Moccasins got the game going early with a goal by Kevin Naslonski at the 10:27 mark in the first quarter. Just over three and a half minutes later, the Mocs struck again. This time Brian Weil scored his first of the season with Naslonski getting the assist. After one, FSC lead 2-0 and 6-2 in shots.
The second quarter started quietly with lots of back and forth possessions. However, with 9:01 remaining, A.J. DeSimone scored the first-ever Tampa lacrosse goal to cut Southern’s lead to one. M.J. Lorenzo recorded the first-ever assist for the Spartans. Despite being outshot 11-4 in the first half, UT found itself down only one as the teams went to the break with a 2-1 FSC lead.
Tampa’s second goal came five and a half minutes into the second half. Kevin Castle capitalized on a Florida Southern turnover, tying the game at two. Constant offensive pressure from the Spartans led to 10 shots and two on goal in the third quarter.
With three seconds remaining in the third, Jonathan Franzese broke the tie with an acrobatic goal in front of the crease. It was UT’s first lead of the game, including its first in school history.
It didn’t take long for the Spartans to extend its lead, as senior Gregory Khanzadian won the face off, picked up the groundball and scored just seven seconds into the period. UT’s third and fourth goals occurred within 10 seconds of game time of each other.
Jonathan Franzese scored his second goal of the game a little over a minute later to give Tampa a 5-2 lead with 13:48 remaining in the game, which would prove to be the game winner.
After the Spartans built up a three goal lead, the Mocs regrouped with a timeout. Five minutes later Brian Weil notched his second goal of the game and third for FSC as it cut the UT lead to two. With 4:03 remaining in the contest, a failed Tampa clear led to a goal by Mat Thompson, making it 5-4.
UT goalkeeper Joseph Fiorucci made a clutch save just 10 seconds after the Mocs fourth goal to keep the one goal lead. After a Tampa timeout with 2:32 left to play, Kevin Castle tallied his second goal of the game and extending the led to two goal, 6-4. Before the final bell rang, Joel McGowan netted the seventh goal for Tampa.
Both teams ended with 22 shots apiece, with FSC getting 12 on goal and UT only nine. Khanzadian took every faceoff draw for the Spartans, winning eight out of 15.
Tampa’s next game will be the first of five straight road contests at Wingate on February 17 at 3:30 p.m. Live stats will be available through www.tampaspartans.tv.