#4 Tampa rallies to defeat Tusculum 15-8

Nate Wade scored four goals and had an assist for the Pioneers against Tampa
Nate Wade scored four goals and had an assist for the Pioneers against Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. --- The University of Tampa pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 15-8 victory over Tusculum College in non-conference men's lacrosse action Sunday afternoon at Naimoli Field.

The fourth-ranked Spartans trailed the Pioneers 6-5 in the third quarter, but scored seven consecutive goals to take a 12-6 lead midway through the final period. Andrew Kew led Tampa with five goals and an assist while Conor Whipple had two goals and three assists for the Spartans in the victory.

Nate Wade led the Pioneers with four goals and an assist, while Ben Boyd had a pair of goals and Liam Macdonald and Dallas Wade had one goal apiece. Tusculum was outshot 41-37 by Tampa, but the Pioneer defense held the Spartans scoreless on six extra-man opportunities.

Tampa led 3-1 at the end of one quarter as Boyd scored the first goal of the season for Tusculum. Nate Wade then scored a man-up goal to bring the Pioneers with 3-2 with 8:02 left in the second quarter, and then tallied with 41 seconds left in the half to knot the score at 3-3. However, Tampa got a goal from Sam Watts just eight seconds later to go to the half with a 4-3 lead.

The Spartans took a 5-3 lead on a goal from A.J. Ferraro 37 seconds into the third quarter, but goals from Nate Wade, Dallas Wade and Macdonald in a span of 1 minute, 27 seconds put the Pioneers on top 6-5. Tampa responded with three straight goals to end the third quarter and take an 8-6 lead into the final period.

Tampa built its lead to 12-6 with four goals in the first 5 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter, before Nate Wade halted the run with a man-down goal with 8:08 left. Three more Spartan goals increased their lead to 15-7 before Boyd closed out the scoring with 1:45 to play.

Quinn McKitrick led all Tusculum field players with six ground balls in the game, while Joel Edgar added four. McKitrick, Edgar and Ross Parsons each had a pair of caused turnovers as Tusculum finished the game with 15 turnovers to 22 by Tampa.

The Spartans held a slim 32-30 edge in ground balls, led by Sam Watts who had 10 on the strength of a 17-for-20 performance on faceoffs in the game. Bryan Wright and Luke Posner had three caused turnovers apiece for Tampa.

Kevin Haggerty had 13 saves for the Pioneers, including nine in the first half, and also led the team with six ground balls and three caused turnovers. A.J. Arnold made 14 saves in goal for the Spartans, with six coming in the fourth quarter.

Tusculum will be home on Saturday to face Pfeiffer at Pioneer Field. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.