SAINT LEO, Fla. - The Florida Southern men's lacrosse team survived a spirited second-half effort from Saint Leo to edge the Lions 11-10 in a tight Sunshine State Conference battle Saturday night.
Saint Leo (6-6, 0-3 SSC) overcame a three-goal halftime deficit to tie the game entering the fourth quarter. The Moccasins (6-7, 2-2 SSC) jumped ahead by two inside the first four minutes of the final period, but the Lions battled back with back-to-back goals 1:01 apart to tie the game at 10-10.
Freshman Lucas Claude (Calgary, Alberta) raced past his defender down the right wing and deposited the game-winning goal with 3:05 to go in regulation.
The Lions had three shots inside the final two-and-a-half minutes to force overtime, but only one was on goal, which sophomore goalie Matt Lalli stopped for his 17th save of the night.
Lalli turned in one of his best performances of the season to earn his fifth win in the net. His 17 saves and 63.0 save percentage both marked a season highs for the product of New Milford, Conn.
With the Lions up 2-1, the Mocs went on a five-goal run to take a four-goal advantage. Junior Kyle McLaughlin (Woolwich Township, N.J.) began the run with a rocket from the top of the circle to tie the game at 2-2. Sophomore Andrew Fisher (Monkton, Md.) won the ensuing faceoff and dished the ball to sophomore Cody Dyer (Slingerlands, N.Y.) to give FSC its first lead of the game only six seconds later.
Claude doubled up the Lions, 4-2, with a goal from the right-wing to end the first quarter. Senior Dane Sorensen (Victoria, British Columbia) and McLaughlin each added a goal, the latter at the 5:27 mark in the second quarter, to put the Mocs ahead 6-2.
The Lions went on a four-goal run bridging the second and third quarter to tie the game at 6-all. They took advantage of all four penalties assessed to the Mocs, including a pair of man-up goals to start the run. Saint Leo senior Kevin Hutchinson evened the score at 6-6 at 7:05 in the third quarter.
Freshman Colin Bayer (Merrick, N.Y.) stripped Lions junior defenseman Andre Rohle and fellow freshman Joe Caridi (Holbrook, N.Y.) gathered the loose ball on a broken clear. Caridi then fed Dyer to regain the lead, 7-6, with just over four minutes left in the third quarter.
Lalli made a stellar save to preserve the one-goal cushion with two-and-a-half minutes left in the third period. He dove from left to right in the crease to deny a wide-open junior Dylan Yonts of an easy goal after receiving a quick-stick pass alone on the left-wing side.
The Lions drew the game even again with their fourth man-up goal of the game, this time from freshman Zach Lysyk with just over a minute left in the third quarter. Freshman Jake Gilmour put Saint Leo up by one, 8-7, only 22 seconds later.
With eight ticks left on the clock in the third quarter, Dyer tied the game for the fifth time to spark a three-goal run. A Caridi man-up tally gave the Mocs a 10-8 lead at 11:12 in the fourth quarter.
Saint Leo's Matt Weller and Eric Gendron scored back-to-back goals 1:01 apart to draw the game even again at 10-10. The Lions won the following faceoff, but freshman defender Alex Dagen (Columbia, Md.) stripped Gendron, giving the Mocs possession to set up Claude for the game-winner.
Dyer led all scorers with four goals. Claude and McLaughlin each finished with two. Caridi earned three points with a goal and two assists. Senior Trenell Boggans (Syracuse, N.Y.) caused a game-high four turnovers to pace the defense.
Florida Southern will end its 2015 regular season with a road matchup against Florida Tech (10-2, 2-1) on Saturday, April 11 at 7 p.m. as the Mocs fight for a spot in the Sunshine State Conference Tournament.