LAKELAND - For the fifth consecutive year, Florida Southern suffered a loss in its season opener as the Moccasins fell 12-6 in its 2016 opener Sunday to 20th-ranked Queens University of Charlotte in a non-conference game at Bryant Stadium.
The Mocs, who are in their eighth season of men's lacrosse, haven't won a season opening game since earning a 10-7 win at Rollins to open the 2011 campaign.
Queens scored three goals in a span of a little less than two-and-minutes into the first period to take control of the game and force the Mocs to play catch-up the remainder of the day.
Trailing 3-0, the Mocs got on the scoreboard with 10:24 left in the first period as freshman midfielder Nick Gutmann (Long Island, N.Y.) scored a man-up goal to push the Mocs within 3-1. Gutmann's goal was assisted by another freshman, attacker Liam Winwood (Kings Park, N.Y.).
The Mocs would pull within 3-2 just about four minutes later as junior attacker Tyler Kopen (Wynnewood, Pa.) found the back of the net for an unassisted goal. It was the first career goal for Kopen, who is a transfer from Onondaga Community College.
Queens, though, responded with three straight goals, including two goals within 80 seconds by Spencer Corkery late in the first period, to push its lead to 6-2. Queens held a 6-2 lead at the half.
The Mocs would regroup at the half and open the third period by scoring two straight goals to close the gap to 6-4. The first Moccasin goal came about three minutes into the period as junior attacker Cody Dyer (Slingerlands, N.Y.) found the net off a pass from Guttman to score a man-up goal and the next goal came with 9:46 left in the period from sophomore midfielder Lucas Claude (Calgary, Alberta).
Queens, though, would respond by closing the third period with four straight goals, including two by Garrett Sadler, to push its lead to 10-4 heading into the final period.
Much like the third quarter, the Mocs opened with scoring in the fourth period by recording back-to-back goals to pull within 10-6. The first goal was scored by Dyer with 11:55 left and the next one came with 6:47 remaining as sophomore midfielder Cody Gray (Riverview, Fla.) found the net.
Dyer's two goals in the game gave him 64 in his Moccasin career, which is good for a tie for third on the school's all-time goals scored list. Dane Sorensen is the school's all-time leader in goals scored as he scored 175 times from 2012-15.
The Royals, who were tabbed to win the South Atlantic Conference in the league's Preseason Coaches' Poll, would close the game's scoring with two more goals to push its lead to 12-6.
In addition to Dyer, Gutmann and Gray also recorded two points for the Mocs in the game as both Gutmann and Gray each had an assist to go along with their goals.
The Mocs finished the game with 27 shots against the Royals, including 16 shots on goal against goalie Eric Dolan. Dolan, who played all but about two-plus minutes in the game, picked up 10 saves in the win for the Royals.
Moccasin junior goalie Matt Lalli (New Milford, Conn.) faced 27 shots and recorded 10 saves. Lalli also finished with team-high five ground balls.
Sophomore defender Alex Dagen (Columbia, Md.) had four ground balls, while Dyer and freshman defender Austen Lison (Leesburg, Va.) each had three in the game. The Mocs recorded 27 ground balls in the game.
Sadler paced the Royals with four goals, while Garrett Chan and Vincent Valenza each had two goals in the game. Chan also added six assists as he finished with eight points.
The Royals picked up 31 ground balls as Jonathan Paige had nine and Queens caused five turnovers and committed 15 turnovers. FSC has just 11 turnovers in the game.
Perhaps the biggest difference in the game was in the face-off circle as Paige from Queens won 14 of his 16 draw attempts, while Lison in his collegiate debut was just 4-for-19 in draw attempts. The Mocs finished the game 4-for-20 on face-offs, while Queens was 16-for-20 on face-offs.
The Mocs will return to action next Saturday, Feb. 13 as they travel to Young Harris, Ga., for a 1 p.m. non-conference game against Young Harris.