Mocs Three-Game Win Streak Halted in Road Setback Against Third-Ranked Tampa

Mocs Three-Game Win Streak Halted in Road Setback Against Third-Ranked Tampa

TAMPA - Florida Southern came into Friday's game at No. 3 ranked Tampa sporting a three-game winning streak, but the Spartans showed why they are the No. 3 ranked team in Division II as they exploded for eight goals apiece in the middle two quarters en route to posting a 22-7 victory over the Moccasins in Sunshine State Conference action at the Naimoli Athletic Complex.

With the setback, the Mocs fell to 8-6 overall and 1-1 in the SSC, while UT improved to 9-1 overall and 2-0 in the SSC and extended its win streak to six straight games. 

The 15 goal margin is the largest margin of defeat for the Mocs in school history as its previous largest margin of defeat was 12 goals against Limestone on Feb. 26, 2011. In that game, Limestone defeated the Mocs, 19-7. 

Friday's game was close in the first quarter as UT scored the game's first goal 100 seconds into the game on an unassisted goal by Conor Whipple. The goal was one of five in the game for Whipple. 

The Mocs, though, answered Whipple's score with an unassisted goal with 11:05 left in the opening period by senior midfielder Kyle McLaughlin (Woolwich Township, N.J.). McLaughlin's goal tied the game at 1-all.

UT would close the quarter by scoring two straight goals in a span of two-plus minutes to take a 3-1 lead after the opening period. 

The Spartans offense would get hot in the second quarter as they scored eight goals, including three straight from Andrew Kew, to take an 11-3 lead at the half. Kew finished the game with six goals in the victory.

FSC's goals in the second quarter were scored by McLaughlin and junior attacker Cody Dyer (Slingerlands, N.Y.). Dyer's goal came with 30 seconds left in the period. 

For McLaughlin, it marked the fifth two-goal game of his collegiate career and first this season. 

Tampa would put the game out of reach in the third quarter as they opened the period by scoring six straight goals and tallying eight in the quarter to push its lead to 19-5 after the third period.

Moccasin junior attacker Tyler Kopen (Wynnewood, Pa.) halted UT's run of six straight goals in the third quarter on a goal off a pass from Dyer. Kopen's goal, which made the score 17-4, was his team leading 31st of the season. Kopen has now scored at least one goal in 11 straight games since being held without goal against Walsh on Feb. 19.

FSC's other score in the third quarter was an unassisted goal with 5:42 left in the period from freshman midfielder Blaine Preston (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). The goal was just the second of the season for Preston.

In the fourth quarter, UT added three goals to its total, while the Mocs scored twice thanks to goals from junior midfielder Zeke Wilson (Manhasset, N.Y.) and freshman midfielder Dalton Simpson (Henderson, Nev.). The goal by Wilson was his second in his last three games. 

Kopen, Dyer and McLaughlin all finished with two points for the Mocs as Kopen and Dyer added an assist to go with their goal, while McLaughlin had two goals. Sophomore midfielder Cody Gray (Riverview, Fla.) had six shots, including four shots on the goal in the game.

The Mocs were outshot 40-26 on the night, while UT also held a 46-29 edge in ground balls in the win. 

One of the lone bright spots for the Mocs defense was freshman midfielder Austen Lison (Leesburg, Va.) as he picked up a career high seven ground balls and caused two turnovers on the night. The Mocs caused eight turnovers as a team.

Freshman midfielder Joseph Biondi, Jr. (Orange, Conn.), and freshman midfielder Jacob Strobel (Savannah, Ga.) struggled in the face-off circle as Biondi, Jr., the reigning SSC Specialist of the Week, went 7-for-23 and had three ground balls, while Strobel was 3-for-9 on face-offs. FSC was 10-for-32 on face-offs in the game. 

In addition to six goals from Kew and five goals from Whipple, Mike Morris added two goals. Whipple finished the game with 12 points as he also recorded a game high seven assists. For the game, the Spartans had 17 assists, while FSC had four assists. 

On the night, UT was 22-for-32 on faceoffs, including Noah Menendez going 16-for-19. 

Junior Matt Lalli (New Milford, Conn.) took the loss in goal for the Mocs as he played nearly 35 minutes and allowed 15 goals, while collecting four saves. In addition to Lalli, junior Austin Suarez (Fort Myers, Fla.), senior Daniel Rivas (Baldwin, N.Y.) and junior Cody Christie (Vernon Hills, Ill.) played the final 25 minutes in goals and combined to allowed seven goals and pick up two saves, both of which were recorded by Suarez. 

UT played five goalies in the game, including A.J. Arnold playing nearly 35 minutes and allowing three goals, while collecting six saves. 

The game was relatively clean as only three penalties were called in the game, all of which were committed by the Spartans. The Mocs, though, didn't take advantage of their extra man chances as they were 0-for-3 on the night. 

FSC will now take eight days off before returning to action on April 9 as they host 20th-ranked Rollins in a 7 p.m. SSC tilt at Bryant Stadium.