Dowling vs. Mercyhurst
May 19, 2012
The Game Story:
ERIE, Pa.- The #1 Mercyhurst men's lacrosse team fell 7-6, in overtime, to #4 Dowling in an NCAA Semifinal Saturday afternoon at Tullio Field. Dowling advances to the NCAA Championship Sunday, May 27, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, where it will take on Limestone College.

After the Lakers went ahead 6-4 with 11:26 left in the match, Dowling began its comeback. Billy Richardson scored twice in 2:35 to even the score. The teams traded late chances as time wound down in the fourth period, but the Lakers' James Chayka's last second shot was the best opportunity. Mercyhurst called timeout with 18 seconds remaining and set Chayka up to beat the Lion defense. He earned a clean look and fired just wide from the right side, sending the game into overtime.

In the extra frame, each team had possession, but it was the visitors who found the back of the net. Brendan Hayes set up Kyle Sopko for the game-winning goal with 1:33 showing on the clock.

The 2011 NCAA Champions, Mercyhurst finished its 2012 season 13-1. It had the first undefeated regular season in school history for any sport. The Lakers' 20-game winning streak and 12-game home win skein were both snapped Saturday.

The game followed a similar plot as the season's first match on March 24. The Lakers won that contest, 7-6.

With 5:28 remaining in the first quarter, Dowling's Michael Brennan opened the scoring after a sloppy start. Chayka started a monster day with a tying goal with 14:17 left in the second period.

Danny Abbene made it 2-1 Dowling with 11:12 to go, but Chayka evened the score 49 seconds later, as Brian Scheetz found the midfielder for his second goal. Vito DeMola scored a few minutes later, but Chayka hit Zac Reid for another tying score with 1:17 remaining in the first half.

The same combination gave the Lakers their first lead of the day with 12:12 left in the third frame. Jake McAndrew followed with a goal 1:47 later to put the hosts ahead, 5-3. Sopko got the Lions within one with 6:02 to play in the third. Chayka assisted on a Kyle Kallay goal early in the fourth quarter to make it 6-4.

The Lakers outshot Dowling, 34-27. The visitors won 9 of 17 face-offs, while each team went 0 for 4 on man-up chances.

Chayka totaled two goals and three assists. He had four assists in the regular season. Reid scored two goals and Michael Grace made 11 saves in net. Richardson and Sopko each had two Lion goals, while Ryan Dougherty had 13 saves.

Dowling (11-2) moves on to face Limestone in the NCAA Championship next weekend.

For a box score of the Dowling-Mercyhurst game, please .