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Caison Dillon
Caison Dillon, shown here from a game against Adelphi on February 24, 2024, scored the game winner with less than a minute remaining in double overtime.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Instant Classic! LR Men’s Lacrosse Defeat Wingate in Double Overtime in SAC Semifinals

The Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Lacrosse Team has moved on to the 2024 SAC Men’s Lacrosse Championship with an 11-10 double overtime victory over No. 6 Wingate.

Caison Dillon scored the decisive goal in the second overtime period off a pin-point pass by Ryan Duncan. It was only the second game-winning goal this seaason for the graduate student from Kernersville, N.C.

Although the High Point transfer will get the credit for the game-winning score, Rob Pensabene saved the Bears chances by making a remarkable stop in the same period. While it was his final save of the night, it was the biggest for the senior goalkeeper.

The contest between these two programs was as tight as they come. The match also can be defined as a “game of runs” as there were four instances where a team had at least three unanswered goals.

With the victory, LR advances to its fourth-straight SAC Championship. The Bears won the 2021 and 2022 edition but came up short in 2023.

Jonathan Bender, Tommy Aguilar and Duncan all led the Bears in scoring as each player tallied two goals in the contest. After a two-goal first half, LR had a much stronger second half with eight scores. The Bears tallied four goals in both the third and fourth quarters. It was an exciting battle between two of the best goalkeepers in the SAC. Second Team All-Conference Thomas Sullivan made 20 stops in between the pipes as First Team All-Conference Pensabene denied a season-high 17 shots. While Duncan had the two goals, the graduate student from Lessburg, Va., led LR with four points thanks to his two additional assists. Matthew Mancini followed up his impressive 19-for-23 face-off performance against Wingate with another great night in the circle. The sophomore won 16 of the 22 face-off opportunities. Brandon Webster, Colten McCracken and Thomas Farlow each led the Bears with two caused turnovers. Webster was second on the team with four ground balls, which only trailed Mancini, who had 12. LR was much more disciplined on the field after committing only one penalty on the night. Meanwhile, Wingate had five penalties which totaled three minutes in the penalty box. The Bears won both the shots battle and the shots on goal count over the Bulldogs. LR had 57 total shots compared to Wingate’s 46, while LR also had 31 shots on goal in comparison to Wingate’s 27. Wingate was perfect on its clearances, getting the ball out of the zone in 23 unique situations. LR was effective, but only went 21-for-25. LR had 14 turnovers in the match, which was slightly higher than Wingate’s 12.

With the victory, LR leads the all-time series, 12-7. This was the 10th meeting between the two programs in Hickory, N.C. LR has won six of those 10 matches. There has been one prior contest that went to overtime between the two sides. The last time was on March 10, 2012, when Wingate defeated LR, 12-11, in triple overtime at Moretz Stadium. This marks the fourth-straight time that LR has defeated Wingate in postseason play. Three of the wins came in the SAC Tournament, while only came in the NCAA Tournament. With the victory, LR improves to 13-6 in SAC Tournament games.

LR is 14-1 on the season. will make the trip to the Sportsplex at Matthews on Sunday, April 28, for the SAC Championship at 4 p.m. The Bears are slated to face Limestone, which is the only program that LR has lost to in the 2024 season.

{Information provided by Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics}