LAKELAND – The Florida Southern men's lacrosse team dropped a heart-breaking 11-10 decision to Lynn University in Sunshine State Conference action at Bryant Stadium Saturday night.
The Moccasins (3-7, 1-2 SSC) battled back from a two-goal deficit to tie the game at 10-all inside the final four-and-a-half minutes of the fourth quarter, but Lynn (6-2, 1-0 SSC) junior Anthony Rainone – the league's second-leading goal scorer – completed his hat trick with the game-winner with only seven seconds remaining.
It marked the first conference victory for Lynn after the Fighting Knights went 0-5 in SSC play in their inaugural men's lacrosse season in 2014.
A glance at the box score may be misleading. The Mocs outshot the Fighting Knights, 50-to-35, outgained them in ground balls, 38-to-18, and sophomore faceoff specialist Andrew Fisher (Monkton, Md.) won 18 of the game's 25 draws.
Lynn sophomore goalie Taylor Ferrino made 18 saves in his first start of the season. In addition, the Lynn defense smothered FSC senior attackman Dane Sorensen (Victoria, British Columbia), holding the active leading goal scorer in Division II without a point on eight shots. It is only the second time since Feb. 8, 2013 that Sorensen finished a game without a point.
Freshman attackman Cody Gray (Riverview, Fla.) drew first blood only 51 seconds into the opening quarter. Sophomores Ryan Wright (Jamesville, N.Y.) and Cody Dyer (Slingerlands, N.Y.) scored in order only 36 seconds apart at 11:46 and 11:10, putting the Mocs ahead 3-0.
The Fighting Knights responded with a five-goal run bridging the first and second quarters. Rainone tied the game at 3-3 with his first of the night with 1:08 left in the first quarter. Redshirt freshman Austin Jerhoff tacked on two in a row to take a 5-3 lead at the start of the second quarter.
The Mocs cashed in on both extra-man opportunities they were afforded in the second quarter as they netted three of the last four goals of the half to tie the game at 6-6. Dyer had a hand in all three goals, bookending the 3-1 run with a pair of scores and assisting on Joe Caridi's man-up goal at the 2:37 mark.
Freshman Lucas Claude (Calgary, Alberta) gave the Mocs a brief lead, 7-6, to start the second half, but it only last 1:36 before Rainone tied the game at 7-all. Johnny Gavin put the Fighting Knights up by one at 8:04, and junior Tyler Novak (Holbrooke, N.Y.) found freshman defender Sam Farren (Locust Valley, N.Y.) alone in front of the goal to knot the back-and-forth affair at 8-8 only 19 seconds later.
Rainone fed Gavin for Lynn's 10th goal with 2:45 to go in the third quarter, which gave the Fighting Knights a two-goal cushion.
Caridi (Holbrook, N.Y.) reduced the deficit to one at 4:18 in the fourth quarter. After kicking a loose ball to himself off of a Ferrino save, he beat Lynn's netminder over the far shoulder from the left wing. Gray then bulled his way past Lynn defender Brian Thibault II on the left-wing side and tied the game at 10-10 with 3:20 go to in regulation.
Lynn freshman Caleb Cerf was assessed a one-minute slashing penalty following Gray's goal, and on the ensuing faceoff, Vincent Genovesi was given a 30-second penalty for the team's third faceoff violation of the half. This time, the Mocs' extra-man offense was unable to find the back of the net. Ferrino came up with two big saves against Sorensen and one against Caridi to preserve the tie.
The Fighting Knights called timeout with exactly one minute to go and set up the offense to take the last shot. Rainone raced past his defender and fired an uncontested shot from about 11 yards out, beating sophomore goalie Matt Lalli (New Milford, Conn.) stick-side for the winner.
Florida Southern returns to Bryant Stadium for its regular-season home finale tomorrow, Sunday, March 22 for a 3 p.m. contest against Adams State (1-4). The Mocs will recognize their seven senior student-athletes in a pregame Senior Day ceremony.