Mocs Knock Off Spartans To Advance To Championship Game
Florida Southern scored the first five goals of the game en route to an 11-7 win over Tampa Thursday night at Tampa's Pepin Stadium to advance to the Deep South Conference championship game. The Moccasins will face Catawba, a 9-7 winner over Mars Hill, in a rematch of last year’s championship game Sunday at 1 p.m. in Mars Hill, N.C.
“I’m really proud of this group, they went out and earned this victory tonight with hard work and dedication,” said head coach Marty Ward.
The Moccasins (10-5) outshot Tampa 13-1 in the opening period and converted four of them into goals, while the defense forced six turnovers and kept the Spartans scoreless. Mat Thompson got the scoring started by picking up a rebound off a Dane Sorensen shot and putting it home. Shane Tompkins scored back-to-back goals to give the Mocs a 3-0 lead. One minute later, Wes Venturino led a fast break and scored his first goal of the season to give the Mocs a 4-0 advantage after the first quarter.
The second quarter saw no scoring for the first nine minutes. With 5:22 left in the period Sorensen picked up a rebound off Thompson’s shot and found the back of the cage to extend the Mocs lead to 5-0. Tampa took advantage of two Mocs’ penalties, as A.J. DeSimone scored a man-up goal to put Tampa on the board with 1:55 left in the second quarter.
In the third quarter the Spartans (11-5) scored back-to-back goals to cut the lead to 5-3. The Moccasins responded by taking advantage of a Spartans’ turnover, as Ricky DeMicco made a quick dish to Sorensen for the goal. Back-to-back goals by Greg Griffo and DeSimone brought the Spartans within one, but they never got any closer. Florida Southern took advantage of a Spartans’ penalty, as Tompkins found Sorensen for a man-up goal to give the Mocs a 7-5 lead after three quarters.
In the fourth period, after D.J. Lubs forced a turnover, Chase Juelich scored what proved to be the eventual game-winning goal. It was Juelich’s first goal since March 16, 2009, when he netted a goal in the Mocs' 18-9 win over Medaille. Coming out of a timeout Kevin Naslonski found Sorensen in front of the cage for a goal to extend the lead to 9-5. One minute later, DeMicco found Thompson, who put a well-placed shot past the goalie. With under a minute remaining Thompson found Tompkins in front of the cage for a man-up goal beforeTampa scored the final two goals.
The win marks the first time in program history the Moccasins have reached 10 wins in season.
Sorensen led the Moccasins with four goals, while Tompkins netted three. Thompson tallied two goals and one assist.
Andrew Almansberger made six saves and picked up three ground balls in the contest to improve his record to 10-5.
Florida Southern won the first meeting with Catawba earlier this season, 13-8, as Thompson netted five goals.