Caiazza Rips Game-Winner with 48 Seconds Left in First OT to Lift Lions over Tars 11-10
SAINT LEO, Fla. – Saint Leo men's lacrosse attackman Chris Caiazza scored the game-winning goal with 48 seconds remaining in the first overtime period, lifting the Lions over Rollins College by a score of 11-10 on Wednesday evening at University Field. The Lions pick up a key Deep South Conference victory and advance their mark to 2-2, and 2-1 in conference play, while the Tars drop to 1-4, and 1-3 in DSC action.
Caiazza's game-winner was the second goal of the game for the freshman from Lindenhurst, N.Y. Leading the day in points was George Proechel with three goals and three assists for six points. Matt Obermeyer tallied a hat trick, as well, followed by Ray Ferrara with two, and Robert Hutchinson with one. Dishing out assists behind Proechel's three were Sean Connolly, Larry McLaughlin, Ferrara, and Hutchinson with one each.
Senior goalie Patrick Berry earned 14 clutch saves on the evening, including five in the fourth quarter, to help keep the Lions in the game. His counterpart for Rollins, Andrew Sheerin, made 15 saves while seeing 51 shots from the Lions.
The Tars were headed up by Will Diamond and Stephen DeFlumeri, who each tallied two goals and an assist. Sophomore Jack Dever also scored twice, with James Libutti leading the team in assists with two.
The first quarter saw a flurry of action, kicking off with the Tars scoring thanks to an unassisted goal from DeFlumeri a minute and a half into the game. Obermeyer fired back 43 seconds later to knot the score at 1-1, marking the first of seven times when the game would be tied.
Obermeyer scored his second-straight to lift the Lions to their first lead of the contest with 9:56 on the clock in the first quarter. Proechel tallied the next two goals within 34 seconds, setting the scoreboard at 4-1 with 9:22 on the clock. Obermeyer closed out the Lions' first period scoring with a goal at 2:48, but two quick goals from Rollins pulled the Tars back to within two as the first period closed out with the Lions holding onto a 5-3 advantage.
Rollins opened up the second stanza with a quick goal from Connor Galvin 35 seconds in, and an unassisted goal from Dever evened the tally at 5-5 with 13:38 before the half. Proechel ripped the go-ahead goal with 11:04 to go, but two consecutive goals from Rollins pulled the Tars up 7-6 with 7:56 before the half. Caiazza notched his first goal of the game with 3:17 on the clock to set the score at 7-7, but a late goal from Oliver Moore with 52 seconds before halftime put the Tars in a slim 8-7 lead at the break.
The third quarter got off to a slow start, but Hutchinson ripped a shot past Sheerin eight minutes in for the first goal of the quarter, pulling the Lions back to even with Rollins at 8-8. A goal from Rollins with just 2:42 before the final break pulled the Tars back out to a slim one-point lead, leaving the Lions in a one goal deficit with a score of 9-8 entering into the final period.
The final quarter opened up with the Lions scoring on an unassisted goal from Ferrara at the 9:40 mark. But Dever rallied back to pull the Tars back out to a one goal lead, with a score of 10-9 and 3:46 to go in regulation. McLaughlin connected on a pass to Ferrara on a fast break for the Lions' final game-tying goal, setting the scoreboard at 10-10 with 1:15 on the clock.
Rollins won the ensuing faceoff, but a shot from the Tars' Peter Harvey was saved by Berry with a minute to go in regulation. The Lions made good on a clear attempt, and took a timeout with 49 seconds on the clock. The Green and Gold came out of the break and fired two quick shots, but the first one from Proechel ricocheted off the post, and an attempt from Caiazza was blocked by the Tars' defense.
Rollins gained possession off of a ground ball and took the ball down and rattled off two quick shots, but Berry came up clutch once again and made the save to send the game into extended time.
The Tars won the opening overtime faceoff, but Saint Leo short stick middie Alex Monteferrante came up with a big caused turnover to give the Lions possession a minute into extended play. Saint Leo rattled off five shots that hit off cage, but Proechel was able to feed a ball from behind to a waiting Caiazza in front of the goal for the crucial tally of the night.
The Lions paced the game with 51 shots compared to the Tars' 31, but Rollins led the ground ball battle 39-32 thanks in part their winning 15-of-25 faceoffs. The Lions were successful on 84 percent of their clears, and held the Tars to a success rate of 71 percent. Thanks to a solid man-down defense, the Lions held their opponent to just one goal on three man-up situations, and Saint Leo's man-up attack unit scored on 2-of-3 attempts.
The Saint Leo men's lacrosse team returns to action on Saturday, March 3, when they take on third-ranked Limestone College in Gaffney S.C. Game time is slated for 1 p.m. Fans will be able to catch all of the action live through saintleolions.com. For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo men's lacrosse team, be sure to follow the Lions on Facebook and Twitter.