February 26, 2014

Lions Edge Catawba in Last-Second Thriller, 9-8

Britton Scores Hat Trick - Moore Makes Clutch Saves in Final Seconds to Lift Lions to Victory

SALISBURY, N.C. – With less than 30 seconds to play, and the Lions leading by one, Saint Leo sophomore goalie Dave Moore made two clutch saves to hold Catawba College off the board, securing a 9-8 victory over the Indians on Wednesday evening from Shuford Stadium.  The Lions, who received votes in the latest USILA Coaches Poll, advance their record to 3-1 on the season, while Catawba drops to a mark of 0-3.

Leading the way for the Lions was Miles Britton, with a team high three goals on the afternoon.  Ryan Burke matched Britton in overall points, tallying two goals and earning an assist.  Matt Obermeyer, Kevin Hutchinson, Michael Mastracchio, and Mike Kavanagh each tallied one goal, with Hutchinson grabbing the game-winner with 7:32 to play in the fourth quarter.  Dylan Yonts and Jake Kavanagh added an assist apiece to close out the Lions' scoring efforts for the day.

Will Cothron won 13-of-19 faceoff attempts, and led the team with six ground balls on the day.  Defensively, Moore earned his keep, making 10 key saves on the day while facing 33 shots and 18 shots on target.

The Indians were led by John Scheich, who tallied a hat trick of his own, while Steven Ridolfo netted two as a total of seven players contributed to Catawba's final score.  In cage for Catawba, Pete Wesselman logged 15 saves as he squared off against 36 shots and 24 shots on goal from the Lions.

Catawba jumped out to an early lead and posted two quick goals before Saint Leo could get on the board off of a goal from Burke with 8:37 to go in the first quarter.  Mastrachio pulled the score even at 2-2 with a goal at the 7:15 mark, but two more goals from Catawba closed out the quarter with the score set at 4-2 in the Indians' favor.

Both teams were stagnant in the second stanza, and entered into the halftime break after a scoreless 15 minutes with the score still at 4-2.

The third period saw both teams trade blows, which was ignited by Britton off of an assist from Burke with 13:28 on the clock to pull Saint Leo to within one, 4-3.  Catawba answered back 22 seconds later to pull back out to a two score advantage, 5-3, but Britton answered back nine seconds later to set the scoreboard at 5-4.

Scheich notched the next goal at the 11:13 mark, but a goal by Kavanagh three minutes later brought the Lions back to within one goal, 6-5, with 8:54 to go in the period.  Catawba had the last say in the third quarter, notching a goal with 3:57 to go, putting the Lions in a two goal deficit entering into the final period, 7-5.

The Indians extended their advantage to three early in the fourth quarter, pulling ahead to 8-5 thanks to an unassisted goal from Adam Hebert with 13:42 on the clock.  The goal kindled a fire in the Lions that ignited a four-goal run that began with Obermeyer placing a shot between the pipes with 12:51 to go. 

Burke fired a shot to the back of the cage at the 11:59 mark to pull the Lions back to within one, 8-7, and a minute later Britton fired a shot into the goal on a man-up opportunity to knot the score at 8-8 with 10:51 remaining.

Yonts and Hutchinson teamed-up on another man-up advantage at the 7:32 mark to net the Lions' final goal, giving the Green and Gold their first lead of the day.  Catawba had a few looks at cage as the minutes counted down, including two solid looks with under 30 seconds to play, but Moore's impressive play held the Indians off of the scoreboard and secure the Lions' third victory of their young season.

Saint Leo led the shot count, 36-33, and won the ground ball battle, 31-26.  The Lions were successful on 12-of-14 clear attempts, and scored on 2-of-4 extra man opportunities.  Both teams committed 12 turnovers.

The Saint Leo men's lacrosse team returns to action on Wednesday, March 5, when they take on Wheeling Jesuit at home.  Game time against the Cardinals is slated for 7 p.m.  Fans will be able to catch all of the action live on the Saint Leo Sports Network at SaintLeoLions.com.

For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo men's lacrosse team, fans can visit SaintLeoLions.com.  Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.