Brian Patton netted three goals in the win.
Brian Patton netted three goals in the win.

Spartans Rout Tars to Clinch First SSC Title

Box Score

WINTER PARK, Fla. – No. 6 University of Tampa men’s lacrosse team clinched at least a share of the first ever Sunshine State Conference title after defeating Rollins 13-8 Wednesday night at Barker Family Stadium. With the win the Spartans improves to 11-2 and 4-0 in the SSC, while the Tars fall to 6-7 overall and 2-2 in conference play.

Tampa came out strong as the defense held the Tars to no shots in the first quarter.  Brian Patton got the Spartans on the board when he netted an unassisted goal with 7:19 remaining in the opening period.  Minutes later Justin Fitzpatrick intercepted a Rollins pass and found Jake Rooney for a goal to extend the lead to 2-0.  After a Tars turnover, Riley Piper picked up a ground ball and found Conor Whipple in front of the cage for a goal to give the Spartans a 3-0 lead after the first quarter. 

Rollins won the opening faceoff of the second quarter and converted a goal on their possession.  The Spartans responded two minutes later as Whipple’s shot found the back of the cage.  Trevor Calleja won the ensuing faceoff and Matt Bilak converted his thirteenth goal of the season to extend Tampa’s lead to 5-1.  The two teams traded goals to give the Spartans a 6-2 lead at the break. 

The Tars scored a goal on their first possession of the second half to cut the lead to 6-3.  Minutes later Marty Heyn picked up a ground ball, off a Rollins turnover, and found Whipple for his ninth hat trick of the season.  After the two teams traded goals, Bilak found Whipple for a goal to extend the Spartans lead to 9-4 with 3:33 left in the third quarter.  A minute later Patton scored an unassisted goal to give Tampa scored a 10-4 advantage.  Rollins scored a man-up goal to cut the deficit to 10-5 after three quarters. 

Jack Vonarb scored an unassisted goal for Rollins to begin the final period.  Tampa responded minutes later as Bilak found Rooney for a man-up goal to extend the lead to 11-5 with 9:47 remaining.  Rollins scored twice, before Rooney and Mike Morris scored back-to-back goals for the 13-8 final.\

Whipple led the Spartans with four goals and an assists, while Rooney netted four goals.  Patton and Bilak each tallied three points in the game. 

The Spartans will return to action Saturday for their regular season finale when they travel to Boca Raton, Fla. to face Lynn in a conference match-up.  Game time is set for 7 p.m. 

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