Whipple's Big Night Keeps Spartans UndefeatedMarch 19, 2014
Melbourne, Fla. – Conor Whipple scored five goals and dished out six assists to help the No. 4 University of Tampa men’s lacrosse team defeat conference foe Florida Tech 21-13 Tuesday night at Hustler Stadium. With the win the Spartans improves to 8-0 and 2-0 in the SSC, while the Panthers falls to 1-6 and 0-2 in conference play.
Tampa struck first as Justin Fitzpatrick found Whipple for a goal 14 seconds into the opening period. Tampa won the ensuing faceoff and on their possession Whipple connected with Jake Rooney for a goal to extend the lead to 2-0. After a Panther goal, Trevor Calleja won the faceoff, picked up the ground ball, and netted his first goal of the season. Florida Tech scored back-to-back goals to even the score 3-3 with 8:59 left in the first quarter. Tampa responded as Brian Patton and Calleja scored back-to-back goals to give the Spartans a 5-3 lead after the opening period.
Florida Tech came out firing to start the second quarter and scored three straight goals to take a 6-5 lead with 12:39 remaining in the first half. Tampa responded 40 seconds later as Brian Patton netted the equalizer to tie the game a 6-6. Matt Bilak and Whipple scored back-to-back goals, before Rooney netted a pair of man-up goals to give the Spartans a 10-6 lead with 5:22 left in the second quarter. Brian Bacarella scored an unassisted goal for Florida Tech to cut the lead to 10-7 at the half.
Florida Tech scored their first possession of the second half as CJ Nichols found Andrew Conley for a goal to cut the lead to 10-8. Tampa responded 27 seconds later as Whipple connected with Kyle Hemrick for a goal. The Spartans then scored six unanswered goals, including three from Whipple, two from Rooney and one from Mike Morris, over the next five minutes to take a 17-9 lead. After a Panthers goal, Morris and Rooney scored back-to- back goals to give Tampa the 19-10 lead after the third quarter.
Florida Tech scored four of the first five goals in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 20-13. Tampa responded as Simon Ruppert scored an unassisted goal for the 21-13 final.
Whipple’s 11 points sets a new single-game program record. The previous record was seven points, which was done three times. Most recently by Rooney who tallied seven points against Lees-McRae earlier this year.
Rooney finished the game with six goals and an assist, while Morris had a pair of goals and an assist. Calleja won 22 of 28 faceoffs and picked up a game high 14 ground balls.
Andrew Fallia made 8 saves in the cage and improved his record to 8-0 on the season.
The Spartans will return to action Saturday, March 22, when they travel to Gaffney, South Carolina to face No. 3 Limestone in a south region match-up. Game time is set for 1 p.m.
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