FSC Men: #14 Mocs Fall in Home Opener to Anderson
LAKELAND, Fla. – The 14th-ranked Florida Southern men’s lacrosse team battled for 60 minutes with the visiting Trojans of Anderson University but extra-man opportunities for the visitors proved to be the difference Friday night as AU came away with a 19-15 victory. The Trojans scored 10 of their 19 goals on extra-man opportunities including scoring multiple goals on non-release fouls.
The loss is the first for the Mocs in 2023 and first at home since March 7, 2022 when FSC fell to nationally-ranked Lindenwood. FSC falls to 2-1 on the year while the Trojans improved to 2-0.
It was a high-scoring affair between the two programs with both teams scoring 11 goals in the opening half before the Trojans were able to pull away in the fourth, out-scoring the Mocs 6-1 in the period. Senior Sean Nolan led the FSC attack with his third-straight hat trick to open the season as he scored three goals. Sophomore Matt Flammenspeck tallied three goals as well, while dishing out two assists for a team-best five points on the day. Graduate student Jay Minor and sophomore Brydon Robichaud each scored twice for the Mocs while Minor handed out two assists and Robichaud had one. Five other Mocs each scored one goal.
The Trojans were led by freshman Matthew Rodgers who scored a game-high eight goals while handing out one assist. He now has 19 goals in just two games this season.
In goal, graduate student Maxwell Freestone suffered his first loss of the season moving his record to 2-1 on the year. He made 14 saves in the loss while facing 33 shots on goal. The Trojans used three goalkeepers after the starter was injured just prior to halftime. The starter, Joey Heckel, played nearly 30 minutes and made seven saves while facing 18 shots on goal. Bryce Cheek played the majority of the second half and made two saves while allowing four goals.
Anderson took advantage of the face-off spot as well, winning 26-of-37 attempts led by Cam Weeks who was 26-of-35 (.743). Freshman Jacob Czyz had the assignment to go against the preseason All-American and won 11-of-37 (.297) at the ‘X’ including scoring the Mocs’ opening goal just under two minutes into the contest. Czyz was one of three Mocs to collect six ground balls in the contest while senior Nick Shannon led the defense with four caused turnovers.
After a back-and-forth first 30 minutes of action both teams were tied at 11-11 at the halftime break. The Trojans scored five of their 11 goals man-up and another when they were a man-down. Two of the five man-up goals were scored on one three-minute non-release penalty due to an illegal stick.
FSC trailed 11-8 late in the first half and scored three-straight to end the half tied. FSC picked up where it left off in the second half as the Mocs scored the opening three goals of the period to make it six-straight from the hosts. Back-to-back goals by the Trojans over the final 2:30 of the third quarter cut the Trojan deficit to just one at 14-13.
FSC was called for two penalties with 20 seconds left in the third and the Trojans began the fourth on a man-up opportunity. The Trojans converted just 44 seconds into the period to even the game at 14-14. Another costly penalty occurred at the 8:50 mark as the Mocs were called for an illegal hit to the head for two minutes of un-releasable time. The Trojans scored four goals during that two-minute span to open up an 18-14 lead which they would never relinquish. Each team scored one more goal for a final of 19-15.
The Mocs will now have 15 days off to focus on nationally-ranked Limestone who will visit Berend Field on Saturday, Feb. 25 at noon.