Anthony Starnino's defense keys No. 3 Limestone's win against No. 4 Tampa
GAFFNEY, S.C. -- In a possible preview of a matchup in the 2014 NCAA Division II Tournament, No. 3 Limestone (9-1, 0-0 CC) delivered an 8-5 victory against southern up-and-comer Tampa (8-1, 2-0 SSC) on Saturday.
Senior long stick midfielder Anthony Starnino produced one of the most impressive defensive games in the illustrious 25-year history of Limestone lacrosse as his eight caused turnovers, along with an assist and three groundballs, helped fuel the critical three goal victory.
He was joined by senior midfielder Joshua Williams and senior attack Todd Nakasuji with two goals and an assist each while sophomore midfielder Mike Messenger had the flip of that with a goal and two assists along with his four groundballs.
Sophomore attack Vinny Ricci notched a goal and four groundballs and sophomore attack Kyle Rhatigan added a pair of scores. Freshman midfielder Kevin Reisman won 8-of-15 faceoffs and collected seven groundballs and sophomore goal keeper Patrick Sheridan went the distance with 11 saves and just five goals allowed. He is 9-1 on the year.
The Spartans came out fired up, notching the first goal of the game at 13:25 when Brian Patton took it himself but soon find out that offense would be at a premium against a top flight Saints defense. It would be Limestone's offense that would get things started, however, as Rhatigan tied it at 1-1 off a pass from sophomore midfielder PJ White at 7:08 and freshman midfielder Colton Watkinson found Williams for the lead at 2:59.
The teams would then alternate the next three scores as UT took two of those to deadlock at 3-3 with 4:25 left in the first half. Back-to-back scores by Ricci and Rhatigan broke that up, however, as they converted at 3:38 and 1:38, respectively, to send the Saints to the half up 5-3.
Both teams came back out with lock down defense in the third period as there would be just one score over the 15 minutes. Conor Whipple took a pass from Jake Rooney at 12:51 and rifled it home to cut it to 5-4 but that would just about be their last bit of offense. As it has all year, the fourth quarter would be Limestone's.
Nakasuji quickly found Williams in front of the net just 26 seconds in and there was no way it was ending well for Tampa's keeper. Following that score to make it a two goal margin, Starnino hit Messenger who promptly delivered a three goal lead, 7-4, at the 11:58 mark. Patton would strike again for UT, registering his second goal at 9:17. That would be all they would get as Nakasuji tacked on the Saints eighth goal to reach the final margin of 8-5.
Rooney led the way for the Spartans with a pair of goals and an assist while Patton had two scores. Whipple chipped in with a goal and an assist along with six groundballs and Jon McGowan had four caused turnovers and three groundballs. Andrew Failla played all 60 minutes and allowed all eight goals while making 16 saves to fall to 8-1.