Gettysburg vs. Middlebury
March 26, 2003
The Game Story:
GETTYSBURG, Pa. - Brian Pryor (Dallas, TX/St. Mark's) and Matt Twombly (New Canaan, CT/New Canaan) scored two goals apiece to lift fourth-ranked Gettysburg over No. 1 Middlebury 7-6 in non-conference men's lacrosse action on Wednesday.

Pryor, a freshman attackman playing in just his third collegiate game, found the net twice in a three-minute span of the third quarter to give the Bullets (6-1) an insurmountable lead in a rematch of the last two NCAA championship games. Key caused turnovers by Twombly and Jay Mayes (Pikesville, MD/McDonogh) in the final minutes sealed Gettysburg's first victory in its last four meetings with the Panthers (4-1).

Mike Saraceni scored twice and dished out an assist for the three-time defending national champions, who were held to two goals and nine of their 19 shots after halftime. Eric Krieger, the winning goalie in both of Middlebury's title-game victories against the Bullets, made nine saves.

Playing at the College's soccer venue due to delays in the renovation of the Musselman Stadium playing field, the two teams battled through mud and three quarters of steady rain to deliver another classic.

After Twombly opened the scoring with an unassisted goal at the 10:14 mark of the first quarter, the Panthers struck three times in a span of 4 minutes, 43 seconds to take a 3-1 lead. Saraceni put Middlebury on the board off a feed from Andrew Giordano ahead of unassisted markers from Mike Murray and Greg Bastis.

John O'Bannon (Marshall, VA/Highland) pulled the Bullets within one by ripping home an extra-man goal with 16 seconds left in the opening quarter and Twombly struck against just 52 seconds into the second to knot the game at 3.

Mark Foster made it 4-3 Panthers with 6:40 left before the break, but Gettysburg's Chase Stewart (Downingtown, PA/Downingtown) sent the game deadlocked into halftime with a highlight-reel goal. The freshman attackman fell to the ground while splitting two defenders to the left of the cage, but still managed to fire a ground-ball shot past Krieger to make it 4-4.

In the second half, the all-freshman attack combination of Pryor, Stewart and Evan Gallant (Lutherville, MD/Loyola-Blakefield) gave the Bullets enough offense to emerge victorious.

Kevin Smith (Baltimore, MD/McDonogh) put Gettysburg ahead to stay at the 13:03 mark of the third and Pryor netted his second collegiate goal 26 seconds later to make it 6-4. Less than three minutes after that, Pryor struck again, this time from the right side of the crease off a quick feed from Gallant for a three-goal Bullet lead.

Saraceni got Middlebury back into the game, scoring with 3:36 left in the third and assisting on Charley Howe's goal with 10:24 remaining to cut the deficit to 7-6. The Panthers couldn't pull even down the stretch, however, coming up empty on an extra-man opportunity in the final five minutes.

Gettysburg goalie Tim McGinnis (Ellicott City, MD/Loyola-Blakefield) stopped Howe on Middlebury's final shot of the game with 3:02 left. Mayes forced a Panther turnover on the visitors' last offensive possession with just over a minute remaining and Twombly knocked down a pass to halt Middlebury's final clearing attempt with 30 seconds left.

The victory provided Gettysburg with a small measure of revenge for Panther victories in each of the past two NCAA championship games. Middlebury defeated the Bullets 15-10 in the 2001 title game and 14-9 last season. Gettysburg's last victory in the series before Wednesday was a 10-6 decision at Musselman Stadium in 2000.

The Bullets return to action on Saturday at home against Centennial Conference rival Washington (Md.). Game time is 1 p.m.