TAMPA, Fla. – The No. 5 University of Tampa Spartans men’s lacrosse defeated the Rollins College Tars 16-7 Sunday afternoon at the Naimoli Family Athletic Complex, capturing their third consecutive Sunshine State Conference Championship.
The victory extends UT’s SSC undefeated streak to 20 games, continuing their dominance as the only member institution to win the Sunshine State Conference championship.
Tampa started the scoring in the affair going up 2-0 thanks in part to Jud Huxtable, and Matt Vetter, who notched the first two goals of the contest at the 12:05 and 10:30 mark in the first quarter. Once in control, head coach Rory Whipple’s side kept their foot on the pedal leading 8-2 at halftime, and would eventually lead by as many as 10 goals.
The Spartans offense dominated the contest tallying 16 goals while recording a shots on goal percentage of 60 percent even. Leading the Scoring efforts was sharp-shooting senior Mike Morris. The Canadian tallied four goals in the championship game and a total of five in the tournament. The scoring machine that is Andrew Kew managed to score three goals in the matchup and nine on the weekend. Conor Whipple and Jake Schmidt each tallied two goals in the matchup bringing their SSC tourney totals up to three and five goals apiece. Whipple would go on to dish out four assists against Rollins.
Defensively, UT hauled in 29 groundballs and forced seven caused turnovers as a squad. Leading the way were Luke Posner and Ryan Vella as the duo combined for five groundballs and two caused turnovers. Also turning in a top-notch performance against RC was freshman A.J. Ferraro, who gobbled up seven groundballs in the bout.
In net, A.J. Arnold picked up the W improving his record to 10-1 on the season. Arnold tallied 14 saves and posted a save percentage of 70.0 percent. Also seeing some action net was Shane Giunta, who posted a save percentage of 66.7 in the contest.
Tampa converted for a faceoff winning percentage of 52 percent as a group. Carrying most of the workload was Alex Patton, who turned in an impressive performance at the faceoff X, going 13-24, recording a faceoff winning percentage 54.1 against the Tars. The West Hempstead, N.Y. native would also amass three groundballs and a caused turnover.
After the conclusion of the contest, the All-SSC Tournament team, and tournament outstanding player were announced. After tallying the ballots the following players garnered the All-Tournament honors.
2016 Sunshine State Conference Men’s Lacrosse All-Tournament Team
Dylan Yonts, Saint Leo
Cody Dyer, Florida Southern
Justin Diamond, Rollins
Lucas Brush, Rollins
Connor McClellan, Rollins
Clay Phillips, Rollins
AJ Ferraro, Tampa
Alex Patton, Tampa
AJ Arnold, Tampa
Andrew Kew, Tampa
Conor Whipple, Tampa (Most Outstanding Player)