Panthers advance with 11-7 win over Rhodes in SAA Quarterfinals

David Arnold (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
David Arnold (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—A dominant third quarter propelled the Birmingham-Southern men's lacrosse team to an 11-7 victory over Rhodes in the quarterfinals of the Southern Athletic Association Championship, Saturday afternoon on Battle Field at Panther Stadium.

BSC, the fourth seed in the tournament, improves to 9-6 on the 2015 campaign and will face top-seeded and regular season conference champion Sewanee in the semifinals next weekend in Sewanee, Tenn. Fifth-seeded Rhodes wraps up the season with a record of 8-8.

The Panthers opened the match with three straight goals to claim a 3-0 advantage after the first quarter. Freshman David Arnold scored two of his game-high five goals in the first. The second goal came off a freshman Andrew Wickersham assist in the final minute when BSC capitalized while enjoying a man-up advantage after a Rhodes slashing penalty.

Momentum shifted sidelines in the second quarter as Rhodes scored a goal less than a minute in to the quarter. Rhodes would use a 4-1 scoring advantage in the quarter to tie the match at four heading into halftime.

In the third quarter, momentum again set up camp on the Panther bench as BSC reeled off six straight goals to stake a 10-4 lead with just over a quarter to play. In one six-second span the Panthers scored two goals, one an unassisted score from junior Harris Oates at the 10:43 mark. After a win on the ensuing faceoff by sophomore Thomas Grove, Grove fed the ball to Arnold for a goal at the 10:37 mark of the third quarter. Rhodes scored a late goal in the third with just over two minutes remaining to take the contest to 10-5 heading into the fourth.

Arnold's final goal of the match with just over 10 minutes left in the contest off an assist from junior Evan Lalande, one of his team-high three helpers on the afternoon, wrapped up the BSC scoring. Rhodes would tack on two more to bring the score to the final of 11-7.

Senior Conor Perine started in goal for BSC and made five saves; sophomore Hank Harris came in near the end of the game and recorded two saves. Rhodes keeper Thomas Matthews recorded 15 saves.

The Panthers travel to Sewanee, Tenn., for the semifinal round of the championship next Friday, April 24, facing top-seeded Sewanee. Game time will be announced this week.