South Carolina Goes Back-to-Back
ROUND ROCK, Texas – South Carolina jumped on Georgia Tech early and cruised home for the 11-9 victory, defending its title as the Division I champion at the 2022 MCLA National Championship presented by New Balance, which was held at the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex.
The Gamecocks (17-3) won the title in 2019 and, after the loss of the 2020 and ’21 seasons, they earn the back-to-back honors.
Sam Weis, who finished the game with three goals and two assists all in the first 17 minutes of the game, was tabbed the Most Valuable Player of the championship contest.
From the jump, South Carolina was ready to repeat. Weis scored 58 seconds into the contest off a dime from Gunnar Wilson. The two teamed up again two minutes later to push the Gamecocks lead to 2-0.
Weis completed his hat trick six minutes into the game before Andrew Pizzo took a pass from Weis to balloon the lead to 5-0 with 5:12 left in the first quarter. Asher Wagnon connected for Georgia Tech (16-4) to get the Yellow Jackets on the board heading into the second frame.
Patrick Reilly pushed the Gamecocks lead to 6-1 early in the second off a dish from Weis and the lead would remain at five goals, 8-3, when the horn blew at halftime.
Tech found its legs in the third quarter and made a charge. After trading a pair of goals in the opening five minutes of the third stanza, the Yellow Jackets strung three goals together to cut the margin to 10-8 heading into the final frame.
Max Lucas opened the scoring off a dish from Brooks Baro and Sam Eck converted less than two minutes later. Baro scored on a low bounce shot with two minutes left in the third to bring the Wreck to within two, 10-8.
Eck struck again a little over a minute into the fourth to draw Tech within one, 10-9, but Ryan Vermeulen bounced one in off an alley dodge to give South Carolina a 11-9 lead with 12:11 left in the game.
Neither team could find the net down the stretch.
Weis led the way for South Carolina while Vermeulen and Reilly each had a pair of goals. Connor Griffin and Wilson each had two assists. Alex Petrush made seven saves in the victory.
Baro and Eck led the way for Tech with two goals apiece while Gina Pagliaro had 14 saves.
The repeat title is the first in Division I since Colorado State repeated in 2012-13.