MARS HILLS, N.C. – In the battle of the Lions, the Saint Leo lacrosse team lost another one goal heart-breaker to Mars Hill College with a 12-11 overtime setback on Friday evening in Deep South Conference action at the Ammons Family Athletic Center in Meares Stadium.
The Lions (7-3, 2-1 DSC) came off the bus flat and struggled to regain their composure throughout the first half as they failed to score in the opening quarter and quickly fell to a 4-0 deficit which became a 7-1 score at the end of the first half.
The SLU offense was struggling to the point where Mars Hill (7-2, 3-0 DSC) saw a 6-0 advantage before Joe Guerin scored SLU's first goal at the 4:48 mark of the second quarter.
For as rough as the Lions looked in the first half, they would look equally as impressive in the second.
The Green & Gold came out of the break firing on all cylinders as Joe Anderson would quickly notch a goal in the first minute after snagging a Mark Dargon laser pass. Dargon would shoot out of the gates in the third quarter with another assist and a goal on his way to a two goal and four assist afternoon.
After Luke Baruch and Ben Brigham found the back of the net, the Lions found themselves only trailing 9-5 at the end of the third period which sent SLU into the fourth quarter with they also owned.
The Lions dominated in nearly every statistical category in the final period as Brigham wasted no time in getting the scoring going for the Lions after ripping a cannon shot off of a Nick Bova skip pass.
For the next two minutes the game belonged to Dargon. The senior from Newton, Mass. would not be denied after running past two defenders and ripping home a goal. As an encore, he would feed a cutting Brigham on the crease for a goal to make the score 9-8.
The scoring barrage continued for SLU as Joe Anderson hit Luke Baruch for a goal just a minute after Brigham had scored to tie the game at nine.
Mars Hill would answer shortly after Baruch’s goal, notching a goal of their own to retake the lead.
For the next seven minutes the Lions would find themselves mired in a stalemate until Mark Dargon found Kyle Marceau for the equalizer.
After a great faceoff win by Mike DelBuono, who went 17 for 23 on the day in faceoffs, Brigham would find Luke Baruch to give the Lions their first lead of the day.
A miscue by the Lions clearing game gave Mars Hill possession in the final minutes of the game and they would quickly take advantage of the man-up possession and tie the game with two minutes left.
After failing to take advantage of scoring opportunities in the waning moments of the game, the Lions saw the game head into the extra session.
The overtime period would play out much like the first half with the Lions having trouble with the sloppy weather and Mars Hill capitalizing on a Saint Leo turnover with 2:08 left in the period and converted it for a goal just a minute later for the Deep South Conference win.
The hosts outshot SLU 35-34, while the Green & Gold won the ground ball battle, 42-37.
Saint Leo also went 18-for-26 on face-offs but went 0-4 on extra man opportunities.
Nick Sigona played the entire game in goal for Mars Hills and made 18 saves.
For the Lions, Brigham and Baruch led Saint Leo with three goals apiece. David Erdman also played the entire contest in goal for SLU and made 10 saves.
The Lions will try to regroup from only their third loss of 2009 as the stay in North Carolina to face Lees-McRae College on Sunday. Saint Leo will head to Banner Elk, N.C. and get the game underway at noon. The game will also be carried live on the Saint Leo Lions AudioCast Network.