September 23, 2011

No.25 Lions Score Three Goals in Final Minutes to Stun NSU, 4-3

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The No.25-ranked Saint Leo men's soccer team (5-1, 1-1 SSC) scored three unanswered goals over the final 19 minutes of their Sunshine State Conference tilt with Nova Southeastern, shocking the Sharks (2-4-1, 0-2 SSC), 4-3, in double overtime, Friday evening from the NSU Soccer Complex.

Opening their road conference slate, the Lions battled through a forty-minute rain delay, in addition to a three goal deficit. However, three unanswered Lions' goals, including Joel Purkiss' game-winner in the 103rd-minute, gave the Lions their first conference win.  

Saint Leo broke through with game's initial goal as Purkiss sent a shot from the right edge of the box into the back of the net following a long feed from Sebastian Bosch.

However, Nova Southeastern returned the favor with what became a season-high three goals over the next 46 minutes to put the Lions in what seemed to be an insurmountable deficit.

Hail Tozar posted the Sharks' first goal off a feed from James Pucci in the 34th-minute. Halftime did not slow the Sharks' momentum as Matthew Liter and Pucci struck with tallies of their own in the 56th and 80th-minutes to put the Lions at a 3-1 disadvantage.

Down to the final minutes of the match, a struggling Lions' bunch received a spark when freshman Sean Mcfarlane blasted home his first goal of the season in the 84th-minute.

Still down 3-2, Mcfarlane and the Lions made one final push in the 90th-minute. A flurry of action around Sharks' 'keeper Steffen Rau saw Mcfarlane end up with the ball at his feet with only seconds left. After his initial shot failed to crack the line, the freshman gathered his own rebound and buried the ball into the back of the net, tying the game at three with only 30 seconds to play.  

With overtime now a certainty, the Lions rode the momentum of their two late regulation goals to victory in double overtime. In the 103rd-minute, Bruno Da Silva sent a cross from the right edge of the box to the center of goal where he found Purkiss who rocketed the game-winner into the back of the net to claim the 4-3 win.

The game is the second consecutive extra-time contest for Saint Leo.

In net, McKenzey Scott collected the win for the Lions as he improved to 5-1 on the campaign.

Overall, the Lions were outshot, 17-14, but were disciplined for the majority of the match committing just eight fouls.

The Lions improve to 6-8-2 all-time against the Sharks. The win is also retribution for a 2-1 loss to Nova Southeastern last season.

The Lions will return to action on Sunday, September 25, when they host the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Kickoff for the match is slated for 2:30 p.m. For the latest news, information, and updates on the men's soccer team, visit SaintLeoLions.com.