HARDEEVILLE, S.C. –– Palm Beach Atlantic scored early and often, defeating Coastal Carolina, 18-4, on Sunday afternoon. The Sailfish (8-2) were coming off of an emotional win over rival SCAD on Saturday night and hit the field with just 14 hours of rest against the Chanticleers (0-6). Though a letdown was possible, PBA got out to a fast start, leading 11-0 late in the second quarter.
Graduate transfer Mike Mastracchio (Jupiter, Fla./St. Leo Univ.) led the 'Fish with three goals and three assists.
The fast start began with five goals in 3:07 for Palm Beach Atlantic, kickstarted by four points in that stretch by junior Greg Swanson (Boca Raton, Fla./Boca Raton). The 'Fish ended the first quarter on a memorable note as goalie Steven Grove (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./The King's Academy) found high school teammate Grayson Smith (West Palm Beach, Fla./The King's Academy), who found Mastracchio to shoot and score with 0:00.7 remaining on the clock.
It was 13-1 at halftime.
By the end of the game, 10 Sailfish scored goals on Sunday afternoon. Junior Thomas East (Atlanta, Ga./Missouri State Univ.) scored his first goals of the season, while Josh Page (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake) scored his first collegiate goal unassisted at 6:50 of the fourth quarter.PBA's largest margin was the final score.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Sophomore midfielder Josh Page was awarded the game ball, in part due to his goal scoring and also as a result of his relentless effort and attitude. He then awarded the game ball to freshman midfielder Grayson Smith.
The 'Fish were on fire at the faceoff position on Sunday, led by sophomore Scotty Brown (Coopersburg, Pa./Southern Lehigh). Brown finished 16-for-18 (88.9%) with 10 ground balls. Sophomore Aaronwyn Austria (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens) was 5-for-6 (83.3%), while freshman Andrew Tibbles (Chanhassen, Minn./The Oxbridge Academy–Fla.) was a perfect 1-for-1. Overall, PBA was 22-for-25 on the day (88%) with two faceoff violations.
Sunday afternoon's 18-4 win gave Palm Beach Atlantic the overall lead in the all-time series, 2-1. The Sailfish and Chanticleers had only met twice prior, both as they were a part of the SELC South Division. In 2008, Coastal Carolina won 15-6, while PBA won 12-11 in 2009. Both teams have not played each other since. The weekend results mark a stunning transition for the program, who made the same Hardeeville trip to play SCAD and Coastal Carolina over eight years ago. After losing to SCAD (12-0) and CCU (15-6) by a combined 21 goals during the 2008 season, this weekend's results (+20 goal differential) speaks to the culture of the program built by head coach Chris Southard.
WHAT'S ON TAP
Palm Beach Atlantic is back home for two divisional contests that will determine the team's postseason fates. First, the 'Fish host Georgia Southern (3-5) on Saturday, April 9 at 7 p.m. with a chance to clinch a berth in the SELC Tournament (April 22-24, Johns Creek, Ga.). If the Sailfish can beat the Eagles, it will set up another game with another set of Eagles for the division championship. PBA hosts Florida Gulf Coast (5-5) on Saturday, April 16 (7 p.m.) for a senior night showdown against their rivals from "out west". Follow the 'Fish on Twitter for live score updates.