BY SYDNEY RHODES
Last weekend the UT women’s and men’s lacrosse teams took on Limestone College. The men’s Limestone team held an impressive record last season, winning 21 season games and recording only one loss. The team was also undefeated in the conference and championship series and won the NCAA Division II National Championship in 2017. The Spartans disrupted the team’s legacy by beating them 12-10 on Sunday afternoon for the first time in the program’s history. The UT women’s team battled a tough game against the Saints as well, but lost 11-13.
In the first seven minutes of the game, sophomore midfielder Claire Swanson sent the ball to attacker Rachel Crawford who scored the first goal of the game. After each goal the Spartans scored in the first half, the Saints were quick to respond and tallied a goal for themselves, making the game very competitive. In addition to the assist, Swanson scored three goals herself throughout the half.
“My personal and team goals for the season are to lead the team and the conference in draw controls,” Swanson said. “Draw controls win games because in order to score you must have the possession of the ball. This is a huge thing we focus on in our team because it all starts with the draw control, we must be first to the ball and win it.”
The Saints kept pouring it on, against goalkeeper Bridget Sutter adding to their lead. After many goals from Limestone, freshman midfielder Kayla Kosubinsky scored her first goal of her collegiate career with less than 10 minutes left in the game. The Saints responded and netted two goals. With two minutes on the clock, junior midfielder Caroline Forester scored the final goal of the contest, ending the game 11-13.
“I think the 2018 team is a really spectacular group of student-athletes,” Head Coach Kelly Gallagher said. “They are incredibly disciplined in everything they do from the classroom to the field. They have a lot of big goals and high expectations for themselves. And, they have a lot of fun. We are looking forward to playing our way back into the SSC [Sunshine State Conference] Tournament and hopefully the NCAA tournament for the first time. I have no doubt this will be a great season.”
As for the men’s lacrosse game, the Saints stepped on the field netting the first two goals of the game. Junior attacker Andrew Kew put the first goal on the scoreboard for UT. The Spartans then scored six goals, with no response from the Saints. The men moved into halftime with a secure score of 8-4.
“Offensively, we work on long possessions, ensuring a high percentage shot every time we got the ball,” Jake Mosher McGraw, sophomore attacker, said. “Defensively, we spend time in practice looking at their invert game behind the cage and two-man game on the wings.”
The game moved into the third period with an immediate goal from Kew, his fifth goal of the game and 10th so far this season. The Spartans continued to score throughout the third period and the majority of the fourth with goals from sophomore attacker Bryan Wright, sophomore attacker Donavon Dempsey and Kew.
In the last 13 minutes the Saints made a comeback, scoring five of the last goals. It wasn’t enough to top UT’s performance. The final score was 12-10 as the UT’s men’s team proudly walking off the field, beating the top team in Division II. Prior to the game, Limestone has beat UT nine times and never lost to them. After the win, Tampa moved up in the national rankings, as they are now No. 6 in the country.
“The team goals are simple, to win a National Championship,” McGraw said.
Sydney Rhodes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org