SAINT LEO, Fla. – Saint Leo senior lacrosse player Kyle Marceau ripped the deciding goal with just seven seconds left to break an 11-all tie and send the Lions to an amazing 12-11 win over No. 4 Merrimack College in NCAA Lacrosse action at University Field on a windy Saturday evening.
Marceau picked up the winner as the Lions (7-1) responded from an 11-10 deficit with two goals in just three minutes. After knotting the game at 11 with a goal from senior Luke Baruch, the Lions had to withstand a flurry of opportunities from the visiting Warriors, who won the ensuing face-off and began to waste time to try for the last shot.
Pushing for the goal with under a minute, Merrimack’s (2-1) Michael Balbuena took an off-angle shot at SLU Goalie David Erdman, but the shot would sail wide. Erdman would turn and sprint toward the ball as it headed out of bounds and out-race Balbuena to give the Lions possession.
Saint Leo would earn a successful clear with 36 seconds left and push for the last shot. After passing it around the box, the ball would end up in Marceau’s stick as he was behind the goal. The senior would sprint around the side of the goal, fake in one direction and spin to the other, while ripping the winner into the net.
The seven-second winner saved a game that the Lions led for three quarters. The advantage came thanks to an impressive performance by Erdman, who stopped 15 shots in the first half alone. One of those saves came point-blank when Merrimack snuck in a substitution behind the SLU defense. The new player caught the ball in stride and had an uncontested line toward the goal. Erdman stared down the Merrimack player and stoned his shot right at the crease, much to the thrill of the pro-SLU crowd.
Jumping out to a 4-1 lead after the first quarter, the Lions held a 10-7 lead as the game went into the final, deciding period. Merrimack stunned the Lions through the first 12 minutes of the stanza, shutting them out as they scored four goals to take their first lead of the game.
After a timeout with 3:40 left, Head Coach Brad Jorgensen would get his Lions back on track, motivating them for the final two goals.
Baruch would end the game with five goals on nine shots while Marceau, Jake McGuinness, and Cole Sieja scored twice each. Marceau would also add three assists in the win.
Specialist Mike Del Buono went 15-for-25 on face-offs against the Top-5 team.
Erdman finished the game with 19 saves while allowing 11 goals. He more-than-doubled his Merrimack counterpart as the Warriors’ Cory Spinale only posted eight saves and allowed 12 goals.
Merrimack’s Corey Lunney led the visitor’s from North Andover, Mass. with three goals in the losing effort.
Saint Leo will now have a week off before facing another Top-10 team as they host Mars Hill College next Saturday in Deep South Conference action. Game time is set for 1:00 p.m. at University Field on the campus of Saint Leo University.