Hoboken, N.J. - May 9, 2012 - In a clash of two of the top programs in the country, the Stevens men's lacrosse team nipped visiting Springfield College, 13-12, in overtime in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship on Wednesday evening.
Stevens, which was ranked ninth in this week's USILA National Coaches Poll, improves to 17-2 and has won eight-straight games. Springfield, the 13th-ranked team in the nation, sees its 10-game winning streak come to a close as it ends the season 14-4.
Springfield and Stevens previously met in the NCAA Championship in 2004. In that contest, the Ducks snapped the Pride's 12-game winning streak by virtue of an 8-4 victory.
Shane Ferguson was phenomenal for the Pride, pouring in five goals, while Dylan Sheehan added four goals and an assist. Senior Mike Delia dished out five assists and Ryan Murphy posted a goal and two assists. Branden Fernandez had a dominant game at the face-off "X", winning 21-of-29 draws to go along with 14 ground balls and Tim Cimini chipped in with five ground balls of his own. In goal, Rob Maher totaled six saves.
For the Ducks, Alex Hofrichter found the back of the cage five times, while both Harry Dorne and Rich Dupras registered hat tricks. Kevin Rose added a goal and two assists and Brian Seldeen picked up a team-best six ground balls. Matthew Diener played the first three quarters in goal, making just one save while allowing 11 goals. Eric Yando came in for the fourth quarter and overtime, allowing just one Springfield goal while making four stops.
The opening 15 minutes of play turned into a shootout quickly, with the teams combining for 11 goals. Delia assisted on the Pride's first two markers as Lynch opened up the scoring 2:15 into the contest before Ferguson stung a shot from 12 yards out 2:14 later.
Rose answered back for the hosts at the 8:54 mark to make it one goal contest, only to have Murphy and Ferguson find the back of the cage to provide the Pride with a 4-1 lead with 4:33 left. The Ducks would not go away quietly, scoring three of the quarters final four goals to trail 5-4 after 15 minutes of play. Dupras, Dorne, and Nicolas Philippi each beat Maher, while Sheehan converted a Balslov feed from 10 yards out.
Ferguson blistered a man-up strike 2:14 into the second quarter, only to have Dupras answer right back at 9:20 on an unassisted goal. A fantastic look up field from Tyler O'Keefe on a clearing attempt allowed Sheehan to bury a man-down goal at 8:01 to give Springfield a two-goal cushion at 7-5.
However, Hofrichter finished along the crease at 2:42 and Dupras added a pretty goal going down low 1:06 later as the teams headed into the half knotted at seven apiece.
The hosts took early control of the third with consecutive goals from Hofrichter within the first 3:54 as they took their first lead at 9-7.
Springfield showed plenty of resolve, answering with four-straight goals in a 6:13 span to regain an 11-9 lead. Both Ferguson and Sheehan scored twice in the spurt, with Murphy accounting for both assists on Sheehan's strikes.
Dorne connected on a Rose feed with 2:43 left in the third to cut into Springfield's lead, and Hofrichter evened things up once again just 20 seconds into the fourth. Hofrichter put Stevens up once again on another unassisted goal with 9:43 left in regulation. Springfield wasn't finished and came up with some last second heroics thanks to a couple of seniors playing in their final collegiate game.
With Stevens holding possession late, Ross Marchegiani forced a turnover with just 23 seconds remaining. After a successful clear, Delia got the ball behind the cage and found a cutting Eric Balslov, who slotted home the game-tying goal with eight ticks on the clock to send the game to overtime.
Fernandez won the opening face-off of the overtime session, but committed a turnover trying to get the ball into the offensive third, allowing the Ducks to gain possession. After a good clear, Dorne took a feed from Philippi, dodged to his left and found the top shelf from eight yards out 1:06 into overtime for the game-winner.