Saint Leo Takes Down Panthers in Lions' First Ever SSC Matchup, 13-7
Burke Has Career Day with Hat Trick and Two Assists
MELBOURNE, Fla. – The Saint Leo men's lacrosse team picked up a victory in its first ever Sunshine State Conference game defeating Florida Tech, 13-7 on Friday evening at Hustler Stadium. The win opens the Lions' inaugural SSC season with a mark of 5-2 overall, and 1-0 in SSC play, while the Panthers drop to a mark of 1-5 and 0-1 in the SSC.
Senior Ryan Burke had a career game, tallying a personal best three goals, and adding a career-matching two assists for a new career high of five points. Dylan Yonts had a three point night, scoring two goals and adding an assist, while Miles Britton scored once and added two assists of his own. Eric Gendron matched Yonts in goals with two of his own.
Kevin Hutchinson, Mike Kavanagh, Matt Weller, Sean Connolly, and Dylan D'Airo each scored once, while Ryan McCarthy and Matt Obermeyer added assists to complete the Lions' scoring efforts on the night.
The Panthers were led by CJ Nichols, who compiled three goals and one assist for a four point performance. Nick Wynne was next, scoring two goals and adding an assist, as a total of four players contributed to Florida Tech's final score.
In cage, Dave Moore saw a total of 35 shots on the night, allowing just seven goals while making nine saves. Jordan Haynes picked up the loss for Florida Tech, allowing 11 goals while making 11 saves in 43 minutes of play. Zack Kunkel stepped between the pipes in the remaining 17 minutes, earning three saves while allowing two goals.
Will Cothron won 15-of-23 faceoff attempts and led the team in ground balls with nine to help the Lions earn their fifth win of the season.
Burke got the ball rolling with an unassisted goal with 13:26 on the clock in the first quarter, and an unassisted goal by Kavanagh 18 seconds later gave Saint Leo a 2-0 advantage early in the game. The Panthers answered back with 6:44 to go in the period on a goal by Nichols, but Saint Leo had the next blow 21 seconds later on an unassisted goal by Connolly to give the Lions a 3-1 lead.
Burke closed out the first quarter with a goal off of an assist by Britton with 2:48 on the clock, giving the Lions a 4-1 advantage entering into the second quarter. The Panthers outscored Saint Leo 3-2 in the second stanza to close out the first half with Saint Leo holding onto a 6-4 lead.
Burke got things going once again to open the third period, this time scoring off of an assist by Obermeyer to give the Lions a three goal lead, 7-4. The Panthers answered back three minutes later, but a three goal run by the Lions extended their lead by five, 10-5, with 6:58 to go in the third quarter. Both teams traded blows once last time, setting the score at 11-6 entering into the final 15 minutes of action.
The fourth quarter was scoreless until late in the game, when a goal by Nichols on a man-up opportunity gave the Panthers their seventh and final tally of the night with 2:22 to go in the game. A flurry of action by the Lions helped seal the deal as Gendron netted his first of the game with 1:17 left to play, and closed out the game with one final goal with 35 ticks remaining to call it a night.
The Saint Leo men's lacrosse team returns to action on Tuesday, March 18, when they travel to North Carolina to take on the Trojans in a 2 p.m. matchup.
For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo men's lacrosse team, fans can visit SaintLeoLions.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.