LAKELAND, FL – Matt Stocks made 14 saves in his first collegiate start and Florida Southern College men’s lacrosse raced out to a 4-0 lead but was unable to hang on in a 12-10 loss to No. 6 Saint Leo in Sunshine State Conference action on Wednesday at Moccasin Field. The Moccasins (7-6, 2-3 SSC) looked like they might come away with a massive upset, but the Lions (10-1, 4-0) roared back with eight second-half goals to erase a 7-4 halftime deficit en route to their sixth win in a row.
Lucas Claude and Colin Bayer helped the Mocs get out to a 2-0 lead in the first quarter, as Stocks made five saves in the opening period and kept the Lions off the board for nearly 20 minutes of play. But Saint Leo would strike for four-straight goals to open the final quarter of play to complete the rally.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern got off to a hot start as Claude scored the first goal of the game on a feed from Kevin Dyer with 11:41 to go in the first quarter to put the Mocs up 1-0. Neither team would score again until Bayer scored his first goal with 2:57 on the clock. Bayer and Liam Winwood opened the second quarter with back-to-back goals to make it 4-0, and Saint Leo finally got on the board with 11:45 to play in the opening half.
• The Lions scored again just over three minutes later slice the deficit in half, but the Moccasins responded with a goal from Dyer to push the lead back to three goals (5-2) with 7:38 on the clock. Saint Leo would answer back with a goal to make it 5-3 with just over six minutes to go, but Cody Gray buried home a shot just three seconds later to put the lead back at three goals (6-3) with 6:10 to go in the second quarter. Justin Dunleavy put the Mocs up 7-3 nearly four minutes later, but the Lions scored at the buzzer to go into the locker room with the score at 7-4.
• Florida Southern looked to be in good shape early in the second half as it held an 8-5 lead after Claude’s goal at 11:14 to go in the third, but Saint Leo struck for three-straight to tie things up and take momentum. Gray closed out the third quarter with a goal to make it 9-8 in favor of the Mocs, but the fourth quarter proved to be the difference as the Lions scored the first four goals of the final period to come away with the win.
• Bayer, Claude, and Gray each scored a team-high two goals, while Dyer tallied two assists. Stocks made 14 saves on the night, including 10 in the first half. Austen Lison had nine ground balls and four caused turnovers, while Kevin Horwitz dominated in the faceoff circle by winning 19-of-21 attempts with 12 ground balls.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern fell to 10-5 all-time against Saint Leo, including a 6-3 record when facing the Lions at home. The loss was the third in a row for the Moccasins, who are still in the hunt for a spot in the Sunshine State Conference Tournament.
• The Moccasins were outshot 40-30, while the Lions finished with a 37-35 edge in ground balls. Florida Southern won 22-of-25 total faceoffs but committed 31 total turnovers, 20 of which were not caused by Saint Leo.
• Neither team converted a man-up opportunity, finishing a combined 0-of-8.
• Florida Southern will host No. 15 Florida Tech on Saturday in its final regular-season home game. The Moccasins close out the regular season at Embry-Riddle on April 21.