Sorensen, Mocs Light Up Saint Leo; Advance to SSC Finals
LAKELAND - In an overwhelming display of offensive firepower and defensive tenacity, No. 10 Florida Southern easily handled Saint Leo in an 18-7 blowout at Barnett Field in the 2014 Sunshine State Conference Tournament semi-final.
The second-seeded Mocs improve their record to 11-3 on the year as they continue looking for the first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. On the other end, Saint Leo ends their 2014 season with an 8-7 record with today's loss. Today's outcome was a stark contrast to the last meeting between these two; a defensive slugfest for most of the game until both teams combined for 10 goals in the fourth quarter as Florida Southern eked out an 11-10 overtime victory on April 5 over the visiting Lions.
Senior Chris Murphy (Camillus, N.Y.) drew first blood 2:33 into the opening quarter to give the Mocs the early lead, before back-to-back goals from junior Dane Sorensen (Victoria, British Columbia) gave the Mocs a 3-0 lead with 7:32 still to go in the first quarter. Matt Obermyer finally put one in the net for the Lions 32 seconds after the score from Sorensen, making it a 3-1 game, but the Canadian attackman buried a shot for his third goal of the afternoon give the Moccasins a three goal lead with 5:00 left before the end of the quarter. Saint Leo came back with a score of their own off the stick of Mike Kavanagh with 2:38 left on the clock, and the Mocs went into the second quarter leading 4-2.
The second stanza belonged to the Moccasins, no questions asked. Murphy found the twine of the net for the second time to give FSC a three-goal advantage, before three straight scores from Sorensen to put the Mocs big in the semi-final showdown. Freshman Grant VanOverbeke (Rosemount, Min.) assisted on Sorensen's first goal at 3:33, and just 23 seconds later it was senior Shane Tompkins (Bear, Del.) on the dish on an EMO score. VanOvebeke connected with the Canadian once again with 1:05 remaining before the break to give the Moccasins an incredible 8-2 lead going into the intermission.
Sorensen picked up right where he left off, netting the first goal of the second half at 13:20 off a feed from Tompkins to give the Mocs a seven-goal advantage before Miles Britton ended the run of Moccasin scores, putting the score at 9-3 with 12:13 still to play in the third quarter. Three straight Florida Southern goals - two from Sorensen and one from VanOverbeke - put the Mocs up by eight before two straight goals from Obermeyer and Britton drew the Lions to within seven of the Scarlet-and-White with 2:24 to go. Sorensen assisted freshman Cody Dyer (Slingerlands, N.Y.) on his first goal of the contest at 2:01, and following another goal from VanOverbeke with 1:00 left, Florida Southern entered the final quarter up 14-5.
Matt Obermeyer found the back of the net for the third time on the day just 18 seconds into the final period to pull Saint Leo to within eight, but the Moccasin offense kept on rolling with a trio of goals from VanOverbeke and Sorensen to put the team up 17-6 with 8:40 to play in the game. Dylan Yonts snuck one past freshman Matt Lalli (New Milford, Conn.) with 3:10 left in the game, but it would be Dyer to score the final goal of the game on an empty-net with 29 seconds left to seal the win, advancing the Moccasins to the SSC Tournament Championship.
Sorensen found the back of the net 10 times and assisted twice to tally 12 points, breaking the records for goals in a game and points in a game. The previous record for most goals in a game of seven was originally set by Cameron Holding in 2010, while the Canadian attackman broke his own record for points in a game of 10 set against Shorter earlier this year. VanOverbeke tallied eight points off four goals and four assists, while Murphy scored twice and dished out one assist on the afternoon.
Senior Dan Krispinsky (Fort Myers, Fla.) was 11-27 from the face-off circle, picking up a team-high six groundballs, while junior Trenell Boggans (Syracuse, N.Y.) caused a team-leading two turnovers on the afternoon. Lalli put on clinic between the pipes today, making a career-best 13 saves against a Lion squad that put up 11 on him two weeks ago, including shutting out SLU in the second quarter and making a game-high five saves in the fourth quarter.
Despite the final score, the game was fairly balanced statistically. Florida Southern held a slight advantage in the shots and groundball department, while Saint Leo managed to win a small amount more face-offs than the Mocs. Florida Southern shined in particular when they were man-up and man-down, allowing Saint Leo to only score once in six extra-man opportunities while going 4-6 themselves.
As for the Lions, Obermeyer led the way with three goals on the afternoon, while Miles Britton scored twice. Ryan Burke tallied the only Lion assist on the day on a score from Britton early in the third quarter. Will Cothron went 16-27 from the draw and picked up a game-high 12 groundballs, while Paul Aramanda led the defense with two of their four caused turnovers. In the net, Dave Moore made nine saves and picked up three groundballs in a losing effort.
Florida Southern will take on top-seeded Tampa (14-2, 5-0 SSC) on Saturday, April 26, in the Sunshine State Conference Men's Lacrosse Tournament Championship. The Spartans, ranked sixth in the country, rallied back to take down fourth-seeded Rollins (6-9, 2-3 SSC) 13-8 earlier in the afternoon. The last time these teams met, it was Tampa who came out on top by the score of 12-6 at the Naimoli Family Athletic and Intramural Complex.