Site: Statesboro, Ga. (Georgia Southern Univ.)
Score: Palm Beach Atlantic 11, Georgia Southern 10
Records: Palm Beach Atlantic (11-1), Georgia Southern (5-6)
Next PBA Event: Thursday, Apr. 18 — at No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast University, 7:00 p.m.
STATESBORO, Ga. –– A road win is never easy, but Palm Beach Atlantic got it done on Saturday against a gritty and talented Georgia Southern program. The Eagles, who had already notched a win against No. 23 St. Andrews earlier in the year, came ready to play in front of a large and vocal GSU crowd.
It was the Eagles on the board first, but Palm Beach Atlantic matched the opening goal on a Dave Schultz shot from Bobby Hantske. PBA and Georgia Southern would trade goals twice more, with junior Dominic Scalzo matching the GSU effort both times. A Hantske goal put the Sailfish on top, 4-3, with 5:57 remaining in the first quarter.
Defensively, Georgia Southern slowed down the PBA pace of play and forced 26 turnovers over the course of the game. The Eagles defense held Palm Beach Atlantic scoreless for 30:23 throughout the midpoint of the game (an unassisted goal by Scalzo at 5:34 of the third quarter broke the scoreless streak).
In the fourth, PBA came alive, outscoring Georgia Southern 6-3 down the stretch to claim the victory. Scalzo led the offense with four goals, while Joe Ciringione finished with one goal and three assists.
Senior Ryan Talks made twenty saves (a season high) to go along with a 66% save percentage.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
Following unexpected traffic in Jacksonville and Savannah, the Sailfish arrived on site for Saturday’s game right at 1:00pm, the intended start time. Thanks to the graciousness of the GSU staff, Palm Beach Atlantic was given a quick stretch and the game was on. PBA used part of halftime for truncated warmup period.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Junior Colin Price finished with two goals against the Eagles, both on man-up opportunities. His goal at 2:00 of the fourth quarter, giving PBA an 11-9 lead, turned out to be the winner.
TURNING POINT OF THE GAME
With 11:59 to play in the fourth, senior midfielder Dave Schultz scored on a dodge from behind to cut the GSU lead to 8-7. Schultz also drew a flag, which the Sailfish converted on 22 seconds later (Colin Price from Joe Ciringione) to tie the game.
PLAY OF THE GAME
As PBA trailed 8-5 in the fourth quarter, senior defenseman Justin Shockley executed a perfectly placed check on a stalling GSU player, sending his stick helicoptering through the air. The Sailfish picked up the loose ball, leading to a Bobby Hantske goal that swung the momentum in favor of Palm Beach Atlantic.
In the second half, a flag was thrown for excessive conduct by the GSU fans. A Georgia Southern fan was ejected from the game and possession was given over to the Sailfish.
With Saturday’s 11-10 win, the No. 8-ranked Sailfish improve to 5-1 all time against Georgia Southern. PBA and GSU met on a neutral site (Jacksonville) in the early stages of their conference matchups, before switching to alternating sites. Next year’s game will be back down in Palm Beach.