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Men’s lacrosse: Eastern holds off Ursinus, 10-9; Swarthmore drops heartbreaker to Gettysburg

Sunday, 1st April 2012

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 4/1/12
From Press Releases

The visiting Ursinus College Bears had the ball for the first eight minutes of the game, but Eastern University Men’s Lacrosse scored four times in the last six minutes of the first half and held on for a 10-9 win Saturday. Junior goalkeeper Aaron Benz made 18 saves in goal for the Eagles (6-2), who have won four in a row.

Ursinus won the first face-off, and after a very deliberate possession that included a pair of Benz saves, the visitors took a 1-0 lead on a Jake Weber goal with 10 minutes left in the first. The Bears secured the second possession of the game as well and after two minutes of pressure, Benz made another save to start the Eastern offense in motion.

The Eagles worked quickly, and after couple quick dodges down the alley, Will Johnson found Matt Wagner with a skip pass and Wagner finished low-to-low for his first of four goals on the afternoon.

Eastern won the ensuing face-off, but Matt Columbini stopped Chris Farrar’s shot and started a transition opportunity for the guests. Steve Smirl finished with a low shot on the edge of the crease.

After an Ursinus turnover, Matt Soldano found a cutting Wagner on the crease to tie the game.

Ron Johnson then changed the match with a stunning individual effort. The junior midfield standout stripped an Ursinus attacker in front of his own bench, and ran sixty yards toward the front of the goal. After a quick dodge, he bounced in a shot that finished just under the crossbar.

With 18 seconds remaining in the period, Soldano made it 4-2 on another pass from Will Johnson. Benz made five saves in the first period.

Will Johnson scored from a tough angle early in the second, but the Bears answered back shortly thereafter on a powerful finish from midfield standout Jeff Ocampo. The Eagles pushed the lead back to three on a man-up goal from Grant Ferguson at the end of a 30 second penalty.

The two teams each scored again before half, and the Eagles went in to the break up 7-4. AJ Ryan won 5-of-6 face-offs in the second period to help the Eagles gain momentum.

Ursinus scored 50 seconds into the second half, and they had a man-up situation immediately following the goal. The Eastern man-down crew forced a turnover and was able to execute a clear to help the home team build more momentum.

“We did a nice job on man-down,” Eastern Head Coach Kevin Wallace, who played collegiate lacrosse at Ursinus, said, “Benz was really good, but the guys in front of him did a really nice job.”

The Eagles scored their second man-up goal of the afternoon on a Kyle Gillam shot that beat Jimmy Valentine, who had replaced Columbini, high. Ryan won the next face-off and the Eagles grabbed their only four-goal lead ofthe afternoon on a brilliant transition finish from Wagner on a pass from Ferguson.

Ursinus grabbed a goal back with two minutes left on their only man-up goal in six chances. Both Benz and Valentine made six saves, many of them spectacular, in the wide-open third period.

The visitiors cut the gap to 9-7 with 9:30 remaining in the game on Weber’s second of the afternoon, but Will Johnson answered back less than 100 seconds later.

The three-goal edge, however, was short-lived as Ursinus pulled within two on the ensuing face-off. Steve Smyrl (Garnet Valley) scored his second of three on the day on a crisp pass from Mike Alfieri.

The rest of the game consisted of the Eastern defense forcing turnovers and Benz making saves while the offense tried to keep the ball for as long as possible. The man-down unit did not allow a shot over a one-minute non-releaseble penalty with five minutes to play, and when Ursinus was able to get a shot at even strength, Benz was there for another save. He made seven fourth quarter saves to pick up his second win in as many games for the year.

Ursinus (5-5) made things interesting with a goal with 28 seconds to play, but Benz was up to the task one final time with a save of a contested shot by Smyrl right as time expired.

Gettysburg 8, Swarthmore 7, OT

On the verge of its first victory over Gettysburg since 1985 and its first win over a ranked opponent in program history, the Garnet (4-5, 1-2) fell painstakingly close in the final moments, as the Bullets’ Henry Tesar scored the game-winning 18 seconds into the second overtime to give No. 20 Gettysburg a win.

Freshman Ian Lukaszewicz, sophomore Jonathan Molloy (pictured) and senior Zach Belden all netted two goals for the Garnet, while senior captain Max Hubbard rounded out the scoring with one goal. The Garnet appeared on the verge of the historic upset from the Battlefield when Lukaszewicz scored midway through the third period to put the Garnet up 6-3. But the Bullets rallied, scoring four goals over the next nine minutes to pull ahead 7-6 with 9:40 to play in the fourth.

Now trailing after holding the lead for three periods, Swarthmore found the equalizer from the first-year Lukaszewicz, who came up big again with his second goal of the game, making it a 7-7 game with 7:31 to play.

The game would remain scoreless for the remainder of regulation and through the first overtime. On the faceoff of the second overtime, Gettysburg junior long-stick midfielder Ian Casella won the faceoff and dished out an assist to sophomore Henry Tesar for the dramatic game-winner. The goal was Tesar’s second of the day.

Along with Tesar, fellow sophomore Martin Manilla contributed three goals, and freshman Bijan Firouzan added a goal and three assists for the Bullets.

Less than two minutes into the first quarter, Molloy gave the Garnet a 1-0 lead. Gettysburg sophomore Martin Manilla would tie the game up three minutes later, but Swarthmore responded towards the end of the quarter. Molloy netted his second of the day, and Hubbard scored as well to give Swarthmore a 3-1 lead going into the second quarter.

The second period was somewhat of a defensive battle, featuring 10 minutes of scoreless hard-fought lacrosse. With five minutes to go, Belden kept the Garnet scoring streak alive to give Swarthmore a three-goal advantage. Manilla would get another just before the half to cut that deficit to two goals(4-2).

On the defensive end, senior captain Matt Bowers finished with a team-high six ground balls while sophomore Geli Carabases finished with four caused turnovers. In net for Swat, senior Michael Brockway turned away seven shots.

Senior John Bukawyn, sophomore Brendan Conway and Lukaszewicz all finished with assists.

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