Tampa Rewrites History, Punches Ticket to First Ever Women’s Lacrosse NCAA Final Four 

0
669

LAKELAND, Fla. – The Tampa Spartans make history by overcoming the Florida Southern Moccasins in the quarterfinals of the 2024 NCAA Division II Tournament.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The quarterfinal clash between Tampa and Florida Southern was poised to determine which team could effectively convert their possessions into scoring chances. Despite Florida Southern striking first, Tampa swiftly responded on their next possession as Peyton Howell dumped the ball inside to Sarah Hinklewho netted the equalizer. Moments later, Gracie Colombo captured the lead for Tampa as Howell found her making a run on the inside to capitalize on another scoring opportunity. The Spartans were not done yet as Jenna Myhal would set up Sophi Wrisk, who fired a shot past the Moc’s goalie to extend Tampa’s advantage by two. With six seconds still left in the first quarter, Howell made her way through Florida Southern’s defense to score, with the assist going to Allie Peebles. On the other end of the field, Tampa fended off any further scoring opportunities by Florida Southern as Alex Walling stood tall in the cage, making three saves.  

Tampa’s momentum continued into the second quarter as Hinkle found the back of the net off a Cece Colombo pass within the opening minute. A few plays later, Gracie Colombo would set up Hinkle on the right side of the cage for her third goal of the match, making Hinkle the first Spartan to achieve a hat trick. As the Moccasins struggled to shut down the Spartans’ attack on the inside, Howell connected with Gracie Colombo to score and widen Tampa’s lead to 7-1. Florida Southern managed to add another goal before the water break, but Tampa maintained their momentum as Gracie Colombo secured herself hat trick off an unassisted goal. With mere seconds left in the first half, Myhal would get a shot off and found the back of the net to further extend Tampa’s lead to 9-2. 

In the third quarter, Florida Southern rallied back with three consecutive goals, narrowing in on Tampa’s lead. However, the Spartans remained composed and patient on the attack. Following a foul by Moc Harper MumaHowell scored from the free position spot, propelling the Spartans into double digits on the scoreboard. With a 10-5 advantage going into the final quarter, Myhal secured her second goal unassisted. Florida Southern started to slowly mount a gradual comeback, scoring four consecutive goals. However, the Mocs couldn’t overcome the Spartans’ commanding lead. Ultimately, Tampa would win 11-9 securing their spot in the NCAA Semifinal.

Stat of the Game – Cece Colombo secures her place as the new all-time assists leader, notching her 96th career assist during today’s game.

TAMPA POST-GAME NOTES 

  • The Spartans advance to the semifinals of the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time in program history. 
  • Alex Walling recorded a total of 7 saves. 
  • UT won the draw control battle, 14-8.
  • Sarah Hinkle and Gracie Colombo are the only Spartans to record a hat trick. 
  • Tampa caused 8 turnovers and won 19 groundballs.  

UP NEXT – The University of Tampa Spartans will play in the semifinals this Thursday in Winter Park, Fla. with the opponent and time to be announced.