KNOXVILLE, Tenn. –– The No. 14 Palm Beach Atlantic men's lacrosse team went on the road to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on No. 9 Siena Heights, and the Sailfish outlasted the Saints in the second half for a 10-9 victory. It was the third and final game of a spring break road trip for the Sailfish, which saw the team stay in a mountaintop log cabin and play three top-ten opponents.
PBA got on the board first when Robert Aycock (Greensboro, N.C./Walter Hines Page) scored from freshman long-stick middie Andrew Tibbles (Chanhassen, Minn./Oxbridge (Fla.) Academy) to open the game. It was all Sailfish in the first quarter, as they outscored Siena Heights 4-1. The Saints returned the favor in the second, however, equalizing the game on a 4-1 run of their own.
Goals by Matt Dillon (Jupiter, Fla./Univ. of Florida) and Colt Burton (Denver, Colo./Cherry Creek) made the difference in the third, giving PBA a 7-6 advantage heading into the final quarter. Freshman Christian Corbin (Bowie, Md./Annapolis-St. Mary's) scored 50 seconds into the fourth, followed by another goal by Dillon on an extra-man opportunity. After an SHU answer, Corbin scored again with 5:59 remaining to give Palm Beach Atlantic a 10-7 lead. It was his fourth point of the game.
In the waning moments of the game, the Sailfish defense stood tall, including a long possession where they created several key stops and forced a shot clock on the Saints. In the end, two late goals brought Siena Heights within one, but they were unable to net the equalizer.
STEPPING UP ON THE BIG STAGE
The win against No. 9 Siena Heights was PBA's first top-ten win since March 8, 2014 (an 18-17 OT win against No. 6 Coast Guard). It is their fourth top-ten win all time, with two occurring in 2013 (No. 2 Grand Valley State and No. 9 Sam Houston State) and one in 2012 (No. 8 SCAD). This is the 13th ranked win for Palm Beach Atlantic head coach Chris Southard.
At the time of the game (Tuesday), Siena Heights was ranked ninth and Palm Beach Atlantic was ranked 14th in the Under Armour MCLA Division II Coaches Poll. Because the completion of the game fell after the deadline for poll submission, the game did not affect the next day's polls. The Saints are now ranked tenth and the Sailfish are now ranked sixteenth.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Freshman goalie Steven Grove (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./King's Academy) finished with a season-high seventeen saves for a 65.4 save percentage in the win. His six key saves in the fourth quarter pushed the Sailfish on to victory and he was awarded the game ball. He then awarded the game ball to freshman midfielder Christian Corbin.
Nine Sailfish registered points against SHU, including multi-point efforts from Burton, Corbin, Dillon, Mike Mastracchio (3a), and Greg Swanson (1g, 2a).
Palm Beach Atlantic committed 15 turnovers against Siena Heights, compared to eleven caused turnovers by Sailfish defenders.
Tuesday afternoon's game was the first ever between Palm Beach Atlantic and Siena Heights, a member of the CCLA. Naturally, the Sailfish now lead the series 1-0.
WHAT'S ON TAP
After a three-game road swing in the mountains, Palm Beach Atlantic wraps up spring break with a home date against Stonehill (Mass.) on Fri., March 11 at 7 p.m. Follow the 'Fish on Twitter for live score updates.