LAKELAND, Fla - The University of Tampa women's lacrosse team traveled to Lakeland, Fla. to take on the 1st seed Florida Southern Mocassins in the semifinal round of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament.
Unfortunately, the Spartans could not do enough to slow down the Florida Southern Mocs offense as they fell by a final score of 19-10.
Florida Southern earned the #1 seed in the tournament and hosting rights after clinching the regular season championship, going 4-0 in SSC play. The Mocs are also ranked #3 nationally in the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association poll.
At the start of the game, it was the Mocs with all the momentum as they hit the crossbar with the first shot of the game and took the lead with just under three mins gone as Dani Bursinger scored her 11th of the season. UT was able to answer and tied it up at 1-1 two minutes later as sophomore Natalie Carraway scored her 13th of the season, assisted by fellow sophomore Amanda Rom, who tallied her 12th assist of the season.
After that, Tampa was kept on their heels for the next 10 minutes of game time as Florida Southern dominated possession and kept the game on the UT end, scoring four goals to go on top 5-1. Carraway would relieve some of the pressure at the 14:40 mark as she scored her second of the game assisted by freshman Caroline Forester to cut into the deficit and make it 5-2. The team could not build any momentum after the goal however and the Mocs took advantage as their offense kept pushing up and led by six goals until sophomore Shannon Sweeney scored with 7:13 left in the first half to bring the Spartans to within five at 8-3.
The Spartans ended the first half building some momentum as they had more possession in the FSC end of the field and were able to score a goal with seven seconds left before the break to cut the deficit to 11-4 with Rachel Crawford tallying her 10th goal of the season.
That energy carried over to start the second half as they scored the first goal after the break to cut the deficit to 11-5. However, two goals in two minutes by junior Kendall Kerge put the Mocs back up to a 13-5 lead.
Trailing 14-5 halfway through the second half, Tampa scored two quick goals as sophomore Rom and junior Emilie Barbosa scored back to back. Unfortunately, it was all Mocs from there as Kerge scored three goals in two minutes to put the game away. Carraway ended the game with four goals and freshman Allie Popelar wrapped up the scoring in the game as she scored her 10th of the season, assisted by Amanda Rom, with under a minute left in the game.
The Spartans conclude their season at 5-10 after the programs first appearance in the Sunshine State Conference Tournament.
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