The top-ranked Tampa Spartans used a dominant second half to beat the 16th-ranked Florida Tech Panthers 15-9 in the Sunshine State Conference men’s lacrosse semifinal on Thursday night at the Naimoli Family Athletic and Intramural Complex in Tampa.
The game turned in the second half with the Spartans outsourcing the Panthers 10-2 in the final thirty minutes.
Florida Tech’s leading scorer and single-season goals record holder Zach Rozgonyi had a hat trick to go along with two assists, leading the way for the Panthers. Collin Stewart scored the first two goals of the night for the visitors and Bennett Duffy ended the night with two goals. Chandler Hake and Jakob Terpak had one goal each.
Tampa (17-0) had three players with a hat trick including Colin White, Daniel Fitzpatrick, and Luke McAnaney. Owen Miller scored twice.
Harry Kilkowski started the scoring for Tampa, beating Panthers goalie John Hulsman with 11:36 to go in the first quarter. before White scored twice against Tampa goaltender Blake Ulmer to put the Panthers up 2-1.
After Duffy put the Panthers up 3-1, Hulsman made a great one-on-one save against Christopher Ciesla. Rozgonyi then scored off a rebound with 59 seconds left in the first quarter, sweeping one past Ulmer to put the Panthers up 4-1. McAnaney would answer with six seconds left to close the gap to 4-2 at the end of one quarter.
It took Rozgonyi 68 seconds into the second quarter to give the Panthers a 5-2 lead. Cole Willard scored less than a minute later, cutting the lead to two. Rozgonyi’s hat trick goal came 1:09 later, doubling the Panthers’ lead to 6-3. Fitzpatrick answered for the Spartans 41 seconds later, and Terpak got a goal back for the Panthers with a great behind-the-back goal off a feed from Matt Gutmann, giving Florida Tech a 7-4 lead.
After Hulsman made a great diving save on Sam Collingwood, the Panthers took six consecutive shots that either went high, wide, or were saved. That ended up being a key stretch in the game because when Tampa got the ball back and with 1:01 left in the half, White scored to make it 7-5.
The Spartans scored twice in 59 seconds with goals from Miller and White, tying the game at seven.
Hake would score a man-up goal off an assist from Rozgonyi, but Nick Papa tied the game at eight with 10:12 left in the third. Fitzpatrick scored his second of the night with 8:27 left to give Tampa their first lead since the game’s opening moments.
Duffy’s second of the night tied things at nine with 4:05 left, before Tampa scored the final three goals of the quarter including another goal from McAnaney with six seconds left on the clock, just as he did in the first quarter. With that, the Spartans took a 12-9 lead into the final 15 minutes.
Tampa’s defense kept the pressure on and shut the Panthers out, as McAnaney scored 58 seconds into the fourth, followed by Fitzpatrick’s hat trick goal 1:07 later. The game’s final goal was out of the stick of White, his third of the night, giving Tampa the six-goal advantage that the Panthers would hold for the final 9:43 of the contest.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Tampa Box Score (SSC Semifinal)
The No. 16 Panthers end the season with a record of 10-6. They finished 5-2 in the conference in the regular season. We would like to thank head coach Brad MacArthur for sending us quotes for our articles during the season. We look forward to seeing the Panthers in action in 2023.