Gettysburg vs. Messiah
April 13, 2005
The Game Story:
GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Chris Renzi (Fairport, NY/Fairport) scored with 2:17 left to snap a 7-all tie and lift sixth-ranked Gettysburg over No. 7 Messiah 8-7 in non-conference men’s lacrosse action on Wednesday.

Jon Sowanick (Bethesda, MD/Bullis) had pulled the Bullets (7-3) even with an unassisted goal just 1 minute, 40 seconds before Renzi’s game-winner. Sowanick, the reigning Centennial Conference Player of the Week, finished with a team-high three goals, giving him seven in his last two games.

Chase Stewart (Downingtown, PA/Downingtown) and Kevin Freehill (Baldwin, NY/Baldwin) added two goals apiece for Gettysburg, which improved to 6-0 all-time against Messiah (8-1). In addition to his game-winning goal, Renzi won 14 of 19 face-offs and picked up a game-high 12 ground balls.

Andrew Collins scored three goals and dished out two assists for the Falcons, who came up one goal short in their bid for a third win this season against a Top 10 opponent. Messiah knocked off then-No. 7 Ithaca and No. 8 Lynchburg in March.

Jono Linebaugh added three points on a goal and two assists while Chris Gilbert made 14 saves in the loss.

Wednesday’s much-anticipated match-up more than lived up to its advanced billing.

The Falcons used a 3-0 run across halftime to take a 5-4 lead, then answered Gettysburg’s two-goal burst with one of their own, taking a 7-6 lead with 5:00 left on a goal by Alex Finch.

Big shots from Sowanick and Renzi, however, gave the Bullets the final word.

Renzi won the face-off after Finch’s goal, Gettysburg set up in the Messiah zone and the Bullets’ next shot – a laser by Sowanick from the top of the box – ripped past Gilbert to tie the game at 7 with 3:57 remaining.

Renzi picked up his own ground ball on the ensuing face-off and Gettysburg ran nearly a minute and a half off the clock before Sowanick swung a pass to Renzi and the junior fired home the game-winner with 2:17 left.

Messiah won the next draw, but a turnover and subsequent slashing penalty short-circuited the visitors’ comeback attempt. After running more than a minute of clock after the turnover, the Bullets killed the final 23 seconds with an extra man to seal the win.

Gettysburg opened the game with goals from Sowanick and Stewart in the first 63 seconds and maintained a 4-2 edge when Sowanick scored again early in the second quarter. But with Gilbert providing seven saves, the Bullets wouldn’t score again until the 2:17 mark of the third quarter, a stretch of 27 minutes, 16 seconds.

In the interim, Messiah took a 5-4 lead on goals from Pete McLean, Dennis Erb and Linebaugh, the last goal of the extra-man variety with 9:36 left in the third quarter.

Great individual efforts from Freehill and Stewart put Gettysburg back ahead at 6-5 by the end of the third quarter. Collins completed his hat trick midway through the fourth to tie the game at 6, and Finch scored off a highlight-reel feed from Linebaugh to give the Falcons their last lead with 5:00 left.

Pat Vaughan (Cockeysville, MD/Loyola Blakefield) finished with nine saves for the Bullets, who improved to 5-0 at home in 2005.

Gettysburg returns to action on Friday at home against Ursinus. Game time is 5:15 p.m.