No. 3 Grove City Outlasts No. 14 Palm Beach Atlantic

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. In a game that will be remembered between two highly ranked programs, No. 3 Grove City outlasted a ferocious comeback by No. 14 Palm Beach Atlantic, winning 15-12 on Wednesday night.

An early penalty on the Wolverines (2-1) led to the first goal of the game, a man-up strike by John Linnan (Penn Yan, N.Y./Jacksonville Univ.) from Greg Swanson (Boca Raton, Fla./Boca Raton) at 13:59. From that point on, it was all Grove City, who scored the next seven goals. During that span, the Wolverines held PBA scoreless for 20:33, in part due to steady faceoff wins from Grove City senior and first-team All America selection Ryan Althausen. The lead ballooned to 11-3 at halftime.

As time began ticking in the third quarter, the 'Fish finally got things going, scoring three straight man-up goals. The first came from Nick Scalzo (Webster, N.Y./Jacksonville Univ.), who scored six goals on the night, while the next two were identical plays from Greg Swanson to midfielder Alex Raucci (Palm Harbor, Fla./St. Leo University). An unassisted goal from Swanson came at 7:21 of the third, cutting the lead to 11-7.

At 10:20 of the fourth quarter, Palm Beach Atlantic cut the lead to 13-9 on a Scalzo goal from senior Dennis Koleda (Huntington, N.Y./Harborfields), who finished with four assists. It was the first of another four goal run that saw two more Scalzo goals, including the goal to make it 13-12 at 1:56. On the ensuing faceoff, GCC's Althausen won another draw, icing the game. The Wolverines scored two late goals on an open net to close the scoring at 15-12.

Freshman Greg Swanson is the player of the game. His six points (two goals, four assists) were tied for the team-high against Grove City, in addition to four ground balls. Swanson's ability to initiate against a poised Wolverines defense kickstarted the PBA comeback during the third quarter.

Anthony Curra (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens) is the unsung hero of the game. His five ground balls and four takeaways came at big moments against GCC and his ability to help lead a defensive change in the second half spurred defensive stands of 12+ and 10+ minutes during the PBA comeback.

Though Grove City only registered seven minutes in total penalty time, the Sailfish extra-man unit was extra-efficient, scoring six times. The scoring was spread evenly, with two goals to John Linnan, two to Alex Raucci, and two to Nick Scalzo.

Wednesday night's match-up was the first-ever meeting between Palm Beach Atlantic University and Grove City College. The two Christian colleges, separated by roughly 1,100 miles, have anticipated a meeting for several years.

The Wolverines are now 1-0 all-time against the Sailfish.

Palm Beach Atlantic continues the Sailfish Shootout on Saturday night (7:00 p.m.) against No. 6 U.S. Coast Guard Academy. It's a part of the Sailfish Shootout's Palm Beach County Day of Lacrosse at Oxbridge Academy (3151 N Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33409). The day begins with No. 3 Grove City and No. 5 Elon at 1:00 p.m., followed by Stonehill and Emmanuel at 3:00 p.m., and a youth game between Rosarian Academy and Independence Middle School at 5:00 p.m. The night concludes with PBA/Coast Guard.


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