By Bradley Schlegel
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/6/15
Mark Stratton (Manheim Township) had two goals and an assist and Brian Neff stopped 12 shots to lead Ursinus College to an 8-7 win over host Cabrini College tonight in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Gerard Brown added a goal and three assists for the Bears (15-3), who captured their first tournament win in school history at Edith Robb Dixon Field and advanced for a rematch with centennial Conference rival Gettysburg in the second round.
Ethan Heisman (Henderson) and Damian Sobieski (Avon Grove) each had two goals for the host Cavaliers (13-7).
James Fairchild (Malvern Prep) went 9-for-15 from the face-off X for Ursinus.
Down by four, the Cavaliers reeled off three straight goals to pull within 7-6. They got within 8-7 with 4:49 remaining on Sobieski’s second score.
Neff’s final save, with 46 seconds remaining, averted overtime and set Ursinus’ rematch with the Bullets, who whipped Catholic, 19-3, to improve to 19-0. The Bears lost to Bullets, 11-10, in the conference championship game on Saturday.
“I’m so proud and pleased with the way our team played,” Ursinus head coach Jamie Steele said.
Neff said his final save, on a shot by Evan Downey with 46 seconds to go, deflected off his foot and out of bounds. Ursinus was awarded possession, and ran out the clock.
“There was a lot of chaos all around me,” said Neff, a junior from Ephrata. “I was trying to say as patient as possible and keep my feet still as long as possible.”
Brown said his team understands the one-and-done mentality of the playoffs.
“At this point, it’s win or go home,” said Brown, a freshman from Montclair, N.J.
According to Neff, the win over Cabrini allows him at least one more game with his senior teammates.
“They are an awesome group,” Neff said.
Trailing 3-2, Ursinus went on a 5-0 run over a span of 8:23 to take a 7-3 lead with goals by Brown, senior midfielder Mike Neal, senior attack Steve Smyrl (Garnet Valley), freshman midfielder Ian Desenberg (entral York) and freshman midfielder Steve Mussoline (Allentown Central Catholic). Mussoline’s goal with 8:42 left on an assist from Brown gave the Bears the four goal lead.
“When the seedings came out I knew this game was going to be decided by one goal,” Steele said. “I would have won a lot of money. Cabrini College is an outstanding team.”