The Florida Tech Panthers made a game of it in the middle quarters Thursday, before being overpowered by the Tampa Spartans 19-12 in the Sunshine State Conference semifinal game at University Turf Stadium in Saint Leo.
Florida Tech finishes the season 9-6 overall and 6-1 in the SSC. Reid Chaconas finished Thursday’s game with five goals, while Logan Sweeney registered a hat-trick.
Tampa was 20-0 against Sunshine State Conference opponents until Florida Tech beat them 7-6 back on March 21, at the Olin Complex in Melbourne. Thursday, the Spartans came out on fire, scoring five first-quarter goals against Panthers goalie Daniel Flock, while B.J. Borowski and the Spartans defense kept the Panthers off the board.
Flock, who has been great all season for the Panthers just didn’t have it on Thursday, as he was lifted 16 seconds into the second quarter, during a Tampa timeout. Jake Hahn replaced him and played until 8:31 remained in the game. That was when Flock returned to finish the game.
Flock was charged with 10 goals and made only three saves. Hahn made 10 saves while he was in there. When all was said and done, the Spartans ripped off 43 shots to the Panthers 33. Tampa did turn the ball over 18 times, but they dominated in ground balls 46-28 while winning 27-of-35 faceoffs.
After Andrew Kew made it 6-0, 47 seconds into the second quarter, Chaconas scored two of the next three goals for the Panthers, cutting the deficit to 7-2. Goals by Sweeney, Carson Clough, and Tyler Oblong got the Panthers to within 8-5.
Matt Vetter scored the first goal of the second half to give Tampa a 9-5 lead. The Panthers would then reel off three in a row, with single tallies from Matt Weinstein, Justin Williams, and Sweeney, who scored with 12 seconds left in the third quarter to make it 9-8.
That late spurt by the Panthers triggered a change in goal for the Spartans, as Bryan Karn went between the pipes.
Jake Mosher McGraw scored his second goal of the day 1:12 into the fourth and Kew followed that less than two minutes later with his second. Those goals were part of a four-goal run by the Spartans that got their lead up to 13-8.
Chaconas and Sweeney would combine for three of the next four goals, to get the deficit to within three at 14-11, but the Spartans would score five of the final six goals and finish off a fourth quarter that saw them outscore the Panthers 10-4.
For more info: Florida Tech Vs Tampa Box Score (at Saint Leo)
With the loss, the Panthers season is likely over as they needed to win the conference title to guarantee a berth in the NCAA Tournament. We would like to thank coach Ryan McAleavey and the staff of Florida Tech Men’s lacrosse for allowing us access to the team this season.
A special thank you to Lee Roggenburg of Florida Lacrosse News for including our articles as part of their coverage.