WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. –– No. 14 Palm Beach Atlantic qualified for the SELC Tournament on Saturday night, winning 12-2 against Georgia Southern. The Sailfish, who are now 9-2 on the season, have an opportunity to clinch the SELC Southeast division on Saturday night against Florida Gulf Coast.
It was a feeling-out phase for both teams in the early stages of the game, with the 'Fish holding a 1-0 lead after one quarter on a goal by Greg Swanson (Boca Raton, Fla./Boca Raton) at 5:48. The PBA defense was ready to play, allowing zero shots on goal through the first quarter.
In the second, Palm Beach Atlantic exploded for five goals, but it wasn't until the 4:14 mark that the 'Fish began to take control. Following a goal by Grayson Smith (West Palm Beach, Fla./The King's Academy), graduate student Mike Mastracchio (Jupiter, Fla./St. Leo Univ.) scored 36 seconds later to take a 5-1 lead. The score was 6-1 at halftime in favor of the 'Fish.
After a third quarter that saw PBA's lead rise to 8-2, the 'Fish played a dominant fourth, outscoring the Eagles 4-0 in the final fifteen minutes. Graduate student Matt Dillon (Jupiter, Fla./Univ. of Florida) scored at 11:56 – one of his four points – before another goal just seven seconds later by Andrew Tibbles (Chanhassen, Minn./Oxbridge Academy). Palm Beach Atlantic registered 56 shots during the game.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Tibbles scored his first collegiate goal against Georgia Southern, part of a dominating physical performance between the boxes for the freshman long-stick midfielder. He then awarded the game ball to defender Cameron Drees (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake), who had four caused turnovers and five ground balls against the Eagles.
Palm Beach Atlantic allowed just two goals against Georgia Southern, their best defensive output all season. Freshman goalie Steven Grove (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./The King's Academy) made ten saves (83.3% save percentage), as the Sailfish bested their previous mark against Stonehill College (three goals allowed).
Following Saturday's 12-2 victory over Georgia Southern, Palm Beach Atlantic now leads the all-time series 8-1. The series began in 2007-2008 when both teams joined the Southeastern Lacrosse Conference.
WHAT'S ON TAP
The Sailfish close out the 2016 regular season with one final home game against Florida Gulf Coast University. The game will take place on Saturday, April 16 with a 7:00 p.m. start time at the Rinker Athletic Campus. The winner takes the Southeast Division title and will play No. 15 Reinhardt in the first round of the SELC Tournament (April 22-24). Follow the 'Fish on Twitter for live score updates.