TAMPA, Fla. – In its annual trip to the University of Tampa, the MIT men's lacrosse team fell to the Spartans, 13-9, on Tuesday night. For the second game in a row, sophomore Chris Cook (Tully, N.Y.) recorded a team-high two goals and an assist for the Engineers (1-4).
Freshman Luke Verdi (Middletown, Md.) tallied two goals, three groundballs, and two caused turnovers as sophomore Bill Kelleher (Pittsburgh, Pa.) tacked on two goals and two groundballs for MIT. Freshman Jonah Hessels (Poolesville, Md.) also registered two goals while classmate Alex Seo (Westport, Conn.) earned two assists. Freshman Paul Orrson (Baltimore, Md.) rounded out the balanced attack with a goal and an assist as senior Christopher Rullan (Wexford, Pa.) compiled 18 saves, nine groundballs, and three caused turnovers. Junior Elliot Sykora (Wilmette, Ill.) notched four groundballs and three caused turnovers while sophomore John Kramer (Glastonbury, Conn.) contributed on two groundballs and two caused turnovers.
The first quarter was a defensive battle until Tampa broke through at the 5:20 mark but Cook buried the equalizer with 56 seconds to go. In the second stanza, the Spartans gradually pulled away as they tallied three unanswered goals; however, a solo effort by Hessels made the score, 4-2, heading into the intermission.
The third quarter was a flurry of activity as both squads generated five goals. Tampa increased its lead after 1:16 elapsed but Hessels and Verdi found the back of the net to bring MIT within one (5-4) with 11:11 on the clock. Following five minutes of scoreless play, the Spartans resumed the scoring spree to gain some breathing room. Kelleher responded with a solo effort but the hosts recorded two goals in a span of 29 seconds to increase their advantage to 8-5. The Engineers ended the frame with a 2-1 spurt as Cook connected on a feed from Orrson and Verdi redirected a pass from Seo to keep MIT within striking distance.
Tampa doubled its cushion within the first two minutes of the final frame to go up, 11-7. Despite the deficit, the Cardinal and Gray continued to attack as an unassisted blast by Kelleher came with 6:22 left to play The Spartans reestablished their four-goal margin almost three minutes later but Seo found Orrson for what proved to be the Engineers' final goal with 1:43 remaining. Tampa then provided the final marker with 10 ticks to go.
MIT concludes its spring training trip on Friday, March 29 when it travels to Florida Institute of Technology.