SAINT LEO, Fla. – Saint Leo junior attackman George Proechel ripped a shot from long range between the pipes with eight seconds left on the clock, scoring the game-winning goal as the men's lacrosse team defeated Pfeiffer University 8-7 in regional action. The win advances the Lions to a record of 3-3, while the Falcons drop to a mark of 4-3 on the season.
Earning a big win on the evening was goalie Patrick Berry, who made 12 key saves on the night to help keep Pfeiffer off the scoreboard. The Pasadena, Md. Native walked away from the night with four ground balls and two of the Lions' four caused turnovers.
Leading the team in scoring was Proechel, with four goals on the night, including three in the final eight minutes to help lift the Lions to victory. Ray Ferrara netted two goals on the night, with Kevin Hutchinson pulling in two points with a goal and an assist. Chris Caiazza scored a man-up goal to complete the goal count, with Ty Trombley dishing out an assist as well.
Beau Bescancene came up big in the midfield for the Lions, pulling in six ground balls. Trombley, Sean Connolly, Dylan D'Airo, and Kevin Hutchinson won three balls apiece off of the ground, as well. Trombly walked away from the evening winning 9-of-16 faceoffs, with Robert Hutchinson coming up perfect, winning 3-of-3 faceoffs, helping the Lions win 12-of-19 attempts.
Saint Leo's man-down defensive unit held Pfeiffer to a success rate of just 40 percent on their man-up opportunities.
The Falcons saw scoring from Justin Rose and Steven Tilmon with two goals, and James Shepherd, Luke Gillespie, and Robert Hope with one each. In cage for Pfeiffer, Hayden Kirk set aside nine shots while yielding eight, five of which came in the final 11 minutes of the game.
It was a slow first quarter for both teams, with only one goal put on the scoreboard as Gillespie placed a shot between the pipes with 1:21 remaining in the period. Pfeiffer entered into the second stanza with a goal from Tillman at the 12:36 mark, but neither team could make things happen for another nine minutes. PU's Hope scored with 3:48 to go before the half, pulling the Falcons out to a 3-0 advantage, but the Lions were not about to back down.
Caiazza placed a shot past Kirk with 2:03 on the clock on a man-up opportunity. Trombley won the ensuing faceoff for Saint Leo, and fed a pass to Proechel who scored the Lions' second goal of the night with 1:58 before the break, leaving Saint Leo down by just one with a score of 3-2 at the break.
Pfeiffer pulled ahead to a 6-2 lead with 4:43 remaining in the third quarter, but a goal from Kevin Hutchinson pulled Lions to within three with 1:57 before the final period. Pfeiffer exploded into the final quarter with a goal from Tilmon 14 seconds into the period, pulling the Falcons out to their largest lead with a score of 7-3. Despite Pfeiffer's early momentum, the Lions fought back, and a goal from Ferrara off of an assist from Hutchinson with 10:42 to go pulled Saint Leo to within three, 7-4.
Proechel scored the following two, setting the score at 7-6 with 5:01 remaining, setting up Ferrara for the game-tying tally with 1:14 on the clock.
With the clock counting down, Saint Leo held possession and looked for the sweet spot. A shot by Matt Obermeyer was blocked in front of the cage, but Caiazza grabbed the ground ball with 18 seconds remaining to help keep the Lions in contention. A quick swing of the ball around the box found Proechel with possession with less than 10 seconds to go, and with a hard rip from long range the Orlando, Fla. native found the back of the net with eight ticks to go.
Saint Leo won the subsequent faceoff, and despite Pfeiffer's best efforts to get the ball back, held onto possession for the win. The Lions ended the game leading the shot count 36-32, as well as the ground ball battle 31-25. Saint Leo was 19-for-21 on clears, while the Falcons found success on all 18 of their clear attempts.
The Saint Leo men's lacrosse team returns to action on Wednesday, March 14, when they take on Mars Hill College in Deep South Conference action. Game time against the Lions is set for 2 p.m. For the latest news, updates, and information on the Lions, visit saintleolions.com.