Lions Drop First Conference Game of the Season
TAMPA, Fla. – The Saint Leo men's lacrosse team gave No. 5 Tampa a run for its money on Saturday evening at Naimoli Family Stadium. Despite the hard fight, the Lions dropped their first Sunshine State Conference game of the season, falling to the Spartans by a score of 9-6. The loss drops the Lions to a mark of 7-4 and 2-1 in SSC action, while UT advances its record to 10-1, and 3-0 in conference play.
Matt Obermeyer led the game with four goals on the night, matching a season high. Ryan Burke and Eric Gendron each scored once, while Kevin Hutchinson earned two assists, and Matt Weller and Gendron each had one.
The Spartans were led by Matt Bilak, who scored two goals on the night. A total of eight different players scored, with six of UT's nine goals coming off of assists.
Dave Moore saw a full 60 minutes between the pipes for the Lions, where he set aside 10 shots while facing 34 shots and 19 shots on frame. For Tampa, Shane Giunta made 11 saves while seeing 35 shots and 17 shots on goal from Saint Leo.
The Lions jumped ahead to a 2-0 lead with Obermeyer netting his first of the night on an unassisted goal at the 8:47 mark, and again on a man-up opportunity with 7:47 on the clock. But the Spartans battled back, scoring two of their own to close out the first quarter with the score tied at 2-2.
UT held the Lions off the board throughout the second stanza, and put two more between the pipes to close out the first 30 minutes with a 4-2 lead over Saint Leo at the half.
The Spartans opened the third quarter with two more goals to pull out to a 6-2 advantage, but Obermeyer broke the scoring streak with a goal at the 1:13 mark to set the score at 6-3. However, Tampa notched one more with eight seconds to go in the period to pull ahead 7-3 entering into the final quarter.
Tampa scored first to open the final period, but the Lions fought hard and scored two straight to pull to within three, 8-5, with 7:40 to go in the game. The Spartans scored their final goal of the night with 6:45 left, but the Lions bit back 36 second later to pull back to within three, 9-6. Despite the Lions' best attacking efforts, Saint Leo was unable to place another shot in cage for the remainder of the game, closing out the contest with a three-goal deficit.
The Lions won 8-of-18 faceoff attempts, all of which were taken by Will Cothron. Moore led the team with six ground balls on the night as Saint Leo earned 24 total, including four from Cothron, and three each by Dylan Yonts and Sean Connolly. The Lions were successful on 20-of-22 clear attempts, and were 1-for-2 on man-up opportunities. A staunch Saint Leo man-down defense held the Spartans scoreless on all four extra-man situations.
The Saint Leo men's lacrosse team returns to action on Saturday, April 5, when they travel to Lakeland, Fla. to take on Florida Southern College. Game time against the Moccasins is slated for 7 p.m.
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