SAINT LEO, Fla. - It was a rough way to open the season for the 9th-ranked Saint Leo lacrosse team as they fell to visiting 6th-ranked Adelphi University Panthers by an 8-4 final on Friday night from a frigid University Field.
The Lions started the game by jumping out to a quick one goal lead after getting a goal by Ben Brigham on assist from Mark Dargon with just under ten minutes remaining in the first quarter. That goal, the Lions’ first of the season, also made Brigham the all-time scoring leader at Saint Leo.
Less than a minute later Adelphi answered with a goal of their own after a pass from Eddie Ege was zipped into the goal by Paul Benedetto, just past Saint Leo goalie David Erdman.
Adelphi then expanded their lead to two goals with scores from Ian Kuchta and Paul Benedetto as the first quarter wound down.
With just 2:37 remaining in the first, the Lions would pull within one after a quick transition goal from Ryan Pomponio, who was assisted by Ryan Groat.
The Lions evened the score in the first minute of the second quater after a quick face off win and outlet pass to Chris Storrie, who punched it in for the Lions.
The Storrie goal would wrap-up the Lions’ scoring in the first half as the Adelphi defense stiffened and the Panthers, in turn, quickly built a three goal lead after tallies from Matthew Zaffuto, Donny Moss, and Paul Benedetto.
The third quarter was a defensive stalemate for both teams, who only managed one goal apiece. Paul Benedetto scored again for the Panthers on another assist from Eddie Ege. The Lions would manage their only goal of the quarter through Joe Guerin in the final ten seconds and head to the final stanza trailing 7-4.
Saint Leo would have several opportunities to score in the fourth, but failed to capitalize on numerous man-advantage situations that the Panthers handed them.
The Lions could not find the attacking touch during the final quarter as the only goal was from Adelphi’s sticks as Kutcha would notch his second goal of the game with 10 minutes left. That goal seemingly deflated the Lions for the remainder.
Saint Leo saw Erdman notch 10 saves while allowing eight goals. His counterpart on the Adelphi side, Zach Bates, registered 15 saves while only allowing four SLU goals.
The biggest, most glaring stat of the game was in extra-man opportunities, where neither team scored, but Saint Leo was a stunning 0-for-11 in chances with an advantage.
The Lions will look to rebound as they hit the road for a two-game road trip. The Green & Gold will travel to Laurinburg, SC on Thursday, where they will face St. Andrews and then head to Misenheimer, NC to face Pfeiffer University on Saturday.