Browser warning

Baseball and LAX Teams, Women's Golfer Advance in NCAA Regionals, Championships

Published: May 16, 2017
Last Saturday, May 13, the No. 9 University of Tampa upset No. 7 Lenoir-Rhyne University to advance to NCAA lacrosse semi-finals.
Last Saturday, May 13, the No. 9 University of Tampa upset No. 7 Lenoir-Rhyne University to advance to NCAA lacrosse semi-finals.
The University of Tampa baseball team has been selected to its 18th consecutive NCAA Division II South Regional.
The University of Tampa baseball team has been selected to its 18th consecutive NCAA Division II South Regional.

School may be out but UT’s men’s lacrosse and baseball teams, and golfer Kiira Riihijarvi, are still going strong. Both teams and Riihijarvi are making advances in NCAA playoff competitions.

Last Saturday, May 13, the No. 9 University of Tampa upset No. 7 Lenoir-Rhyne University to advance to NCAA lacrosse semi-finals. Tampa will travel to Limestone to face-off for the third consecutive time on Sunday, May 21, at noon. The championship game is scheduled for the following Sunday, May 28, at 2 p.m.

The lacrosse team won its fourth straight Sunshine State Conference Tournament Championship with a 12-8 victory over Florida Tech and entered the contest with a 14-4 overall record. In postseason play, Tampa advanced to the national semifinals in 2014 and 2016. The Spartans have now been selected to four consecutive NCAA tournaments, dating back to 2014.

“We played a tremendous game,” said coach Rory Whipple. “I thought we did an excellent job of grabbing the momentum against Lenoir-Rhyne. This is a sport of momentum and that made a big difference. Our defense did a great job of holding the lead. We expect another battle against Limestone, and are excited to play in our third straight national semifinal.”

Sunshine State Conference coaches voted Whipple Coach of the Year for a third time. The Tampa skipper earns the honor after going 5-0 in the SSC and 12-4 overall in 2017. Whipple has compiled a 55-13 overall record in the last four seasons and is undefeated in SSC play since men's lacrosse was adopted as a league sport in 2014. This year, he became the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division II history.

Sophomore Andrew Kew leads UT in goals scored while breaking the NCAA record for goals in a season, now sitting at 81 on the season. Senior Conor Whipple was named the Sunshine State Conference Player of the year for the third time in his career for leading the conference and squad in points with 91 (35 goals and 56 assists). The attacker is the career record holder in goals (161), assists (170) and points (331).

Leading the Spartan defense is the quad of A.J. Ferraro, Charlie Cummins, Marty Heyn and Luke Posner. Combined they have 141 ground balls and 84 caused turnovers. Heyn leads the squad in caused turnovers with 30. Ferraro tops the defense in ground balls with 41 on the season. Three of the quadruplets earned All-SSC honors.

Senior goalkeeper A.J. Arnold is 12-4 on the season with a .534 save percentage while tallying 134 saves in net. Arnold has limited his opponents to 8.45 goals against average.

---

University of Tampa freshman golfer Kiira Riihijarvi shot a school and tournament record in the final round of play to win the 2017 NCAA South Super Regional.

Competing as the first-ever Tampa women's golfer in school history to make the NCAA regional, she carded rounds of 78, 72 and 70. Her final score of 220 was two strokes ahead of second-place finisher Brittany LaPadula from Florida Tech.

A freshman from Oulu, Finland, Riihijarvi was UT's top finisher in five of its eighth tournaments in 2016-2017. Entering the tournament, she was averaging a school-record 76.8 in 16 rounds of play.

Head coach Missey Jones and Riihijarvi advanced to the NCAA Championships, which are being held May 17-20 at Findlay Country Club in Findlay, OH.

---

The University of Tampa baseball team has been selected to its 18th consecutive NCAA Division II South Regional, which will include a total of seven teams. Tampa will face Miles College on Thursday, May 18, at 4 p.m.

Gulf South Conference champion Delta State University has been chosen as the host of the double-elimination tournament, which will be held in Cleveland, MS, and will begin Thursday and end with Monday's regional title game(s).

The region will feature several national powers as four of the last 13 NCAA II national champions will be among the field. Tampa won the 2006, 2007, 2013 and 2015 championships as fellow Sunshine State Conference opponents Florida Southern College and Nova Southeastern University won in 2005 and 2016, respectively.

Receiving automatic bids for the tournament are Miles, the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) winners, Delta State from the Gulf South Conference and Tampa from the Sunshine State Conference.

Top-seeded Delta State, is followed by No. 2 Tampa, No. 3 Nova Southeastern, No. 4 Florida Southern, No. 5 Valdosta State, No. 6 West Alabama and No. 7 Miles.

The University of Tampa will enter postseason play with an overall record of 37-13 as the Spartans finished SSC play with a 20-4 record.

This marks the 18th straight NCAA tournament appearance for Tampa, as head coach Joe Urso has advanced to the tournament in each of his 17 seasons at the helm.

Please visit TampaSpartans.com for complete information on UT golf, baseball and lacrosse.