Saint Leo Defeats MIT, 9-4

Junior Christopher Rullan

SAINT LEO, Fla. – A four-goal burst in the fourth quarter powered Saint Leo University to a 9-4 win over the MIT men's lacrosse team on Wednesday afternoon. Sophomore Ben Hessels (Laytonsville, Md.) registered two goals for the Engineers in their spring training trip finale.

The Lions scored 20 seconds after the opening faceoff and then capitalized on a two-player advantage with 3:52 left in the frame. MIT got on the board courtesy of solo effort by Hessels just over two minutes later. The second quarter was a defensive battle as the hosts generated the lone marker which gave them a 3-1 edge at the intermission.

Both squads exchanged goals throughout the third quarter led off by an unassisted tally from Hessels. Saint Leo quickly doubled its margin but freshman Jake Slonaker (West Windsor, N.J.) connected on a feed from junior Gabe Blanchet (Hadley, Mass.), narrowing the gap to 4-3 at the 10:43 mark. Following nine minutes of scoreless play, the Lions found of the back of net. The Engineers replied with a strike by sophomore Elliot Sykora (Wilmette, Ill.) with seven seconds on the clock.

Saint Leo increased its advantage to 6-4 early in the final frame and then rattled off three goals during the last seven minutes of the game to clinch the victory. MIT produced five shots in the quarter but the Lions' netminder came away with three saves.

Senior Bryan Beller (Dix Hills, N.Y.) posted five groundballs and two caused turnovers while freshman Quantum Wei (Springfield, Va.) recorded three groundballs and one caused turnover. Blanchet added three groundballs, followed by two from Slonaker and sophomore Joel Santisteban (Lawrence, N.Y.). In net, junior Christopher Rullan (Wexford, Pa.) collected 16 saves.

In its return to Cambridge, MIT (2-3) will host Gordon College on Saturday, March 31.