#14 Florida Southern Wins in Overtime Over Saint Leo

LAKELAND - With the lights shining bright on the Bryant Stadium field-turf, No. 14 Florida Southern pulled out an 11-10 overtime victory - their second of the season - over Saint Leo in a Sunshine State Conference slugfest.

The Mocs improve their overall record to 9-3 and up their conference mark to 3-1 with the win - their fifth-straight - while the Lions drop to 7-5 and 2-2 in the conference. The win also guarantees Florida Southern the second-seed in the upcoming Sunshine State Conference Tournament.

Saint Leo scored the evening's first goals at 7:51 and 7:05 of the first quarter, but Florida Southern responded with a pair of unassisted goals from freshman Tyler Kuhlman (Wellington, Fla.) at 4:59 and junior Dane Sorensen (Victoria, British Columbia) at 4:22 to tie the game at 2-2. The Lions scored a goal with 57 seconds left in the quarter, and the first period of play ended with the Mocs trailing, 3-2.

SLU found the back of the net 2:35 into the second quarter to increase their lead to two, but Sorensen answered back with his second goal of the contest at 8:05 off an assist from freshman Grant VanOverbeke (Rosemount, Min.) to bring Florida Southern to within one. A rip from senior Chris Murphy (Camillus, N.Y.) on the run with two seconds left in the quarter knotted the game at 4-4 going into the halftime.

Only two goals were scored in the third quarter, but they were both off the stick of a Saint Leo player. Leo's first goal of the quarter came at 4:21 off a shot from beyond the Moccasin defense box that took a strange bounce off the stick of freshman goalkeeper Matt Lalli (New Milford, Conn.) and found its way into the net for the go-ahead score. Their next goal came in a more traditional fashion, putting the upset-seeking Lions up 6-4 going into the fourth quarter.

Saint Leo ripped two more goals in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter past Lalli, giving them an 8-4 lead with 13:10 remaining in the game. The defensive chess-match that lasted for the first three quarters suddenly became a display of offensive firepower in the last 13 minutes of action.

Murphy found the back of the net for the second time on the night at 12:35, beginning a run of five unanswered goals from the Scarlet-and-White. Sorensen's third and fourth goals off assists from freshman Cody Dyer (Slingerlands, N.Y.) at 10:16 and senior Shane Tompkins (Bear, Del.) at 9:24 to bring Florida Southern to within one. VanOverbeke's first score of the game off a fast-break assist from senior David Beaumont (New Westminster, British Columbia) tied the game with 8:16 to go, while Dyer set up Sorensen for his fifth goal of the contest to give the Mocs their first lead of the game with 5:22 to go.

Not wanting to let a key conference victory slip away, Saint Leo pressed their attack and scored the tying goal at 4:22 before scoring their a go-ahead goal of their own at 3:24 to put the score at 10-9 in favor of the visiting Lions with time winding down on the Moccasins. With under two minutes to go and the ball in the Saint Leo end of the field, Kuhlman picked up the loose ball after a saved shot, dodged a Saint Leo defender and buried one past the Saint Leo goalie to tie the game with 1:51 remaining. The Mocs had several opportunities to win the game in regulation, but a Saint Leo save and several hit pipes later the horn sounded and signaled the beginning of overtime.

Saint Leo won the opening face-off of the overtime period, but they turned it over under immense pressure from the Moccasins. The stingy Lion defense, rated the second-best statistically in all of Division II, prevented any easy shots for the Mocs. As the clock hit the two-minute mark, VanOverbeke curled around the left side of the cage and buried the game winner over the shoulder of the Saint Leo goalie, sealing the second comeback win of the season for Florida Southern.

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2014-04-06



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