Tigerville, S.C. – North Greenville men’s lacrosse turned in one of its best performances of the season on Thursday but fell short of an upset, falling to the number 4-ranked Lindenwood Lions 10-9.
Thursday’s non-conference game featured one of the country’s best programs versus a North Greenville program in the midst of only its third season of competitive play. The Lions are frequent participants in the NCAA Division II playoffs, playing in the national championship just three seasons ago, a game in which they lost to Conference Carolinas member Limestone College.
The shots were almost even for each team in the first half as the Lions finished with 12 compared to 11 for North Greenville. The Crusaders won one more faceoff than Lindenwood while Braeden Dixon finished with six first half saves in cage. Hunter Burgett led the first half charge on offense with two goals.
North Greenville opened the second half with back-to-back scores to extend its lead to 9-6. Alex Proly extended the lead to two goals with an impressive one timer while Jake Foster capitalized on an opportunity give the Crusaders its largest lead of the game at three with 8:33 left in the third quarter.
The Lions tacked on one more goal in the third to cut NGU’s edge to 9-7. It would take four minutes of the fourth quarter for the Lions to score again, but a shot from Darroch found its mark and inched the Lions closer, now only trailing 9-8.
NGU’s defense was able to limit the Lindenwood attack for a few moments longer, but North Greenville’s offense was unable to take advantage. The Crusaders went scoreless for the final 23:33 of the game, allowing the Lions to even the score at 9-9 with 8:39 left.
Lindenwood eventually scored the go-ahead goal with 3:13 left in the game, its first lead since the first quarter. Each team had chances in the final moments but the Lions were unable to add insurance while NGU struggled to event he score and at least force overtime. North Greenville got its final chance of the game, taking possession with seven seconds left, but an ill-timed turnover cost NGU its last scoring attempt as the Lions escaped Tigerville with the win.
Burgett’s three goals led North Greenville while Jake Foster and Alex Proly both finished with two. Austin Dixon led the team with two assists. Both teams took great care of the ball, combining for just seven caused turnovers. Logan Bryant finished the game with six groundballs while Dixon had 16-saves in the cage. North Greenville finished with 15 shots on goal while the Lions fired 26 shots at the cage.
The Crusaders fall to 5-4 on the season with all four losses coming to nationally ranked teams. NGU will have a chance to improve to 2-0 in Conference Carolinas play this weekend when the Crusaders take on Mount Olive at 12pm in North Carolina.