GAFFNEY, S.C. – Reaching the NCAA Division II Men's Lacrosse Championship Semifinal for the third time in program history, the No. 8 University of Tampa men's lacrosse team will meet top-ranked Limestone College on the road at Saints Field on Sunday, May 21 at 12 p.m.
The Spartans advanced to the final four after a road victory over the tournament's South region No. 2 seeded Lenoir-Rhyne University Bears. After a strong first half from Tampa, Lenoir-Rhyne tried to sneak back but the Spartan defense held the Bears.
Sophomore Andrew Kew leads UT in goals scored while breaking the NCAA record for goals in a season, now sitting at 85 on the season. Senior Conor Whipple was named the Sunshine State Conference Player of the year for the third time in his career for leading the Conference and squad in points with 94 (35 goals and 59 assists). The attacker is the career record holder in goals (165), assists (184) and points (349).
Leading the Spartan defense is the quad of A.J. Ferraro, Charlie Cummins, Marty Heyn and Luke Posner. Combined they have 148 ground balls and 85 caused turnovers. Heyn leads the squad in caused turnovers with 30. Ferraro tops the defense in ground balls with 42 on the season. Three of the quadruplets earned All-SSC honors.
Between the posts for UT is senior A.J. Arnold, in his final campaign the goalkeeper is 12-4 on the season with a .530 save percentage while tallying 141 saves in net. Arnold has limited his opponents to 8.42 goals against average.
The national runner-up from last season, Limestone College, has earned their 18th appearance in the NCAA DII postseason. Last week they defeated the tournament's No.4 seeded Wingate by a score of 14-5. Leading by as much as a nine-goal margin throughout the contest.
The Saints are led by the nation's leading DII face-off specialist, Kevin Reisman. He currently posts a .750 win percentage with 233 groundballs. Their top scorers are Charlie Sheehan, Brenden Smith, and Ryan Maciejewski. Sheehan led the squad in goals with 59 and Maciejewski tops the assists category with 27. Combined the trio has 192 of the Saints total points.
Limestone's netminder Cole Aikens has posted a near perfect record of 14-1. Holding his opponents to 8.15 goals average with 115 saves. The top defenders are Billy Koelmel, Ryan Mulka and Jordan Stouros. Koelmel and Mulka have 17 caused turnovers each while Koelmel tops the defense with 35 ground balls.
Tampa enters the semifinal matchup with a 15-4 overall record while host Limestone is at 19-1. The two teams met on Feb. 25 in Tampa, Fla. for a regular season contest that ended in a 12-10 win for No. 1 Limestone. The Spartans have yet to record a win against the Saints as LC owns an 8-0 record in the all-time series and a 2-0 tally in postseason matchups, ending UT's season in their 2016 semifinal showdown.
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