Greenville, S.C. – Zach Coker turned in the first hat trick of the year, but it was not enough, as Jacksonville outlasted Furman, 13-11, in the Paladins' final game of the inaugural season. With the win, Jacksonville (4-8, 3-2 A-Sun) clinches a berth into the Atlantic Sun Tournament, while the Paladins finish their first-ever season at 1-12 (1-4 A-Sun).
"It was a hard-fought game," said Furman head coach Richie Meade. "Jacksonville really took advantage of some opportunities in the beginning of the fourth quarter and did a good job adjusting to our face-offs. Those three fourth-quarter goals provided the momentum that Jacksonville needed throughout the rest of the game."
Coker led the Paladins with three goals, while Kenny Meinsen and Scott Primeau each had two. Graham Dabbs also recorded two goals and led the team with two assists. Chase Hancock and Michael Toto also each turned in a goal, while Hil Blaze was 21-27 on face-off opportunities.
The Paladins scored first on Meinsen's 21st goal of the year, before Jacksonville responded a minute later to tie the score at one. Michael Toto netted his first goal of the year with 6:16 left in the first quarter to put the Paladins back on top, 2-1, before Jacksonville scored five-straight goals to take a 6-2 lead with 10:46 remaining in the second quarter.
Furman then got three-straight second quarter goals to cut the Dolphin lead to 6-5 with 4:16 left in the half. Jacksonville responded with a man-up goal to push their lead back to 7-5, before Coker scored to again cut the lead to one at 7-6. Jacksonville then scored with 1:32 remaining in the half to take an 8-6 lead into halftime.
The Dolphins scored a goal early in the third quarter to push their lead to 9-6, before the Paladins responded with three-straight goals to tie the game at nine with 1:50 remaining in the third. Jacksonville scored less than one minute later to regain the lead and take a 10-9 score into the fourth quarter.
Jacksonville scored three early goals in the fourth quarter to take a 13-9 lead, which proved to be the difference in the game. The Paladins got goals from Coker and Dabbs late in the quarter, but were unable to overcome the deficit, falling to Jacksonville, 13-11.