WINGATE, N.C. - Behind an outstanding performance from All-Conference teammates Kyle Marceau and Benjamin Brigham, the number two seed Saint Leo lacrosse team defeated the third-seeded Wingate University Bulldogs 9-8 in Deep South Conference semifinal action Friday afternoon at a sunny and warm Irwin Belk Stadium and John R. Martin Field.

Saint Leo improves 10-3 on the year with their second win over the Bulldogs in 2009. Wingate end the season at 8-8.

Saint Leo found themselves in an early deficit as the Bulldogs scored three of the games first four goals, the only Lions score coming when Ryan Groat picked off a pass and took a running bounce shot that found the back of the net.

A goal from freshman attack Bryan Bayliss gave Wingate a 2-1 lead. Ryan Otterblad gave the host Bulldogs a 3-1 lead with 12:25 remaining in the second period.

Saint Leo responded by scoring the next three goals. McGuinness had two of the goals in the stretch, including the go ahead goal at the 9:58 mark. Otterblad answered with a goal 2:10 later to tie the game at four. Brigham gave Saint Leo a 5-4 lead with 45 seconds remaining in the half.

Williams scored 4:53 into the second half to tie the game at five. Saint Leo responded by scoring the next three goals. Baruch got it started, scoring at the 8:06 mark and again at the 4:15 mark. Marceau added a goal with 2:48 remaining in the period to give the Lions an 8-5 lead.

Otterblad scored at the 10:28 mark of the fourth to cut the lead to two. Junior midfielder Nick Bova answered with a goal at the 1:39 mark to make it 9-6.

The Bulldogs would not go away, scoring two goals in the final minute, making the game officially a nail-biter. Otterblad scored with 57 seconds remaining to make it 9-7. Hodsdon followed with a goal 11 seconds later to cut the lead to one. Surviving the scare, the Lions would be led by David Erdman’s 13th save of the day to walk away with the win.

Wingate held a 34-29 edge in shots, including a 22-19 advantage in shots on goal. Saint Leo held a 42-37 advantage in ground balls, led by sophomore midfielder Mike Del Buono with nine.

The Lions will take on Mars Hill in the DSC championship game Sunday at 2:00 p.m.  The game will be carried live on the Saint Leo Lions AudioCast Network.