SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo men's lacrosse team gave ninth-ranked Mars Hill a run for its money on Wednesday afternoon at University Field, but couldn't pull out a victory as they fell to Mars Hill by a score of 11-8 in Deep South Conference action. Saint Leo drops to a mark of 3-4, and 2-2 in DSC play, while Mars Hill advances to an overall record of 9-0, and 3-0 in the DSC.
Saint Leo junior attackman George Proechel led the way for the Green and Gold with four goals on the afternoon. Matt Obermeyer tallied two of his own, followed by Kevin Hutchinson and Jacob Matenaer with one apiece. Dishing out assists on the afternoon were Chris Caiazza and Ray Ferrara with one each.
At the line, sophomore middie Robert Hutchinson had a big day at the faceoff-x, winning 11-of-20 attempts, and collecting a career high eight ground balls.
Goalie Patrick Berry had another big day between the pipes. The Pasadena, Md. Native faced the nationally-ranked opponent for a full 60 minutes, seeing 36 shots, 24 shots on frame, and allowing only 11 goals while making 13 saves.
His opposition, Dylan Price, made 12 saves while yielding eight shots.
MHC's Cade Zulak matched Proechel in goals with four, while T.J. Cowx and Anthony Malcom each netted two. Cowx added an assist to his tally for three points on the afternoon. In total, seven different players contributed to Mars Hill's scoring efforts on the day.
The first quarter played out in Saint Leo's favor, despite the Green and Gold falling into an early two goal deficit in the opening minutes. Obermeyer put the Lions on the scoreboard with 9:12 before the end of the quarter, to pull to within one of Mars Hill with a score of 2-1. Proechel found the sweet spot three minutes later to knot the score at 2-2, and a minute later Obermeyer netted Saint Leo's third goal of the day to pull the Lions into the lead, 3-2. Matenaer scored an unassisted goal on a man-up opportunity with 45 seconds on the clock to close out the first quarter, giving Saint Leo a 4-2 advantage after the first period.
MHC's Taylor Thilo pulled his team back to within one at the start of the second stanza, but a goal from Kevin Hutchinson extended Saint Leo's lead back to two with 8:41 to go before the halftime break. Mars Hill pulled back to within one with 5:54 on the clock thanks to a goal from Cowx, setting the halftime score at 5-4 in favor of Saint Leo.
Mars Hill came out of the break with two consecutive goals to pull into the lead, 6-5, with 5:16 left in the third quarter. But two successive goals from Proechel within nine seconds of each other pulled Saint Leo back into the lead with a score of 7-6 and 2:11 to go in the third period. Mars Hill closed out the quarter with two more goals of their own, setting the score at 8-7 in favor of MHC entering into the final period.
Despite Saint Leo's best efforts, Mars Hill outscored the Lions 3-1 in the final 15 minutes, including a goal on an open cage with 28 seconds remaining to secure the victory.
Saint Leo and Mars Hill both rattled off 36 shots, but the Green and Gold won the ground ball battle, 27-25. Both teams won 11-of-22 faceoffs. A man-down defensive unit held Mars Hill to just two goals on four opportunities.
The Lions return to action on Saturday, March 17, when they take on Wingate University in Deep South Conference action. Game time against the Bulldogs is set for 2 p.m. Fans who cannot make it to the game will be able to catch all of the action live at saintleolions.com.