Clearwater, Fla. – Will Mandracchia (Melrose, Mass.) had a hand in four goals and Clark University completed the Florida sweep by taking down Saint John Fisher, 6-4, in non-league lacrosse action on Saturday afternoon.
The win for the suddenly surging Cougars sends their all-time record in Florida to 11-2 and they have now won nine straight in the state overall.
Score: Clark University 6, Saint John Fisher 4
Records: Clark University 4-2; Saint John Fisher 2-1
Location: Phillip Jones Stadium, Clearwater, Fla.
How It Happened:
Playing at the same field as last season's dramatic 10-9 double overtime win against DeSales, the Cougars and Cardinals started off slow offensively in large part due to the play of both goalkeepers.
Clark finally dented the scoreboard when Mandracchia found a cutting Brandon King (Eastham, Mass.), who muscled his way through the Saint John Fisher defense for his team-leading 11th strike of the season with just two seconds left in the opening stanza.
The Cardinals tied up the game when Zach Wagner connected with Andrew Rosso less than two minutes into the second quarter.
It stayed that way until Isaac Bass (Amherst, Mass.) whizzed a shot past SJF netminder Tanner Swann with 2:41 left in the second frame, sending the Cougars into halftime with a one goal lead.
That advantage ballooned quickly following intermission as the Scarlet and White got unassisted tallies from both Jack Goracy (West Islip, N.Y.) and Mandracchia, making the score, 4-1.
The Cardinals got one back when Rosso fed Nick Papayanakos for a man-up delivery late in the third. Clark answered back before the close of the period when Mandracchia once again for the back of the net.
Now trailing 5-2, the Cardinals inched closer courtesy of markers from both Wagner and Rosso – the last coming with 5:20 to go, making the score 5-4.
It looked as if Clark might double its lead moments later, but Bass saw his shot bang off the post – the third time in the game that the Cougars had a shot hit the post.
Then, moments later it looked as if the Cardinals had tied the score but their goal was disallowed after a player was caught in the crease.
Rosso had his game-tying attempt with a little more than two minutes turned aside, giving possession to Clark. The Cougars, attempted to run out the clock but Saint John Fisher was able to force a turnover of their own and move into their offensive zone with less than a minute to play.
They began working the ball around but Ryan MacNeil (Weymouth, Mass.) made a great defensive play, forcing another turnover and gaining possession for the Cougars with less than 50 seconds left to go.
A penalty put the Scarlet and White on the man advantage and when King returned the favor by finding Mandracchia for his third goal of the afternoon with nine seconds left, the game was sealed.
Inside The Boxscore:
Drew Riopelle-Tyrrell (Northville, Mich.) was excellent in between the pipes for the Cougars, registering 11 saves and two ground balls.
Mandracchia, meanwhile, had three goals and an assist and MacNeil was stellar on the defensive end, scooping up three ground balls and causing a pair of turnovers.
The Cougars are off until Saturday when they host Gordon College in a makeup game from March 4. Faceoff for that contest is slated for 7:00 p.m.