Messiah vs. Rit
March 8, 2003
The Game Story:
Messiah men defeat #15 R.I.T., 8-7.

3/8/03. Grantham, PA. The R.I.T. Tigers held a 7-5 advantage going into the fourth quarter of the Saturday's contest, but a 3-0 run by Messiah in the fourth quarter gave the victory to the Falcons. This is the third straight year that RIT has come into Grantham with a national ranking and fell to the unranked Falcons.

R.I.T. opened the contest with a 2-0 first quarter lead, with goals from Ryan Neward and Chris Copeland. The Falcons did not get on the scoreboard until the 13.44 mark of the second, when Jono Linebaugh scored an extra man goal off a pass from Dan Videon. The visitors increased their lead back to two when Neward found Copeland on an extra man opportunity of their own. Messiah midfielders Linebaugh and Kevin Dennstaedt both scored unassisted goals in the final 2:23 of the half to knot it up at three apiece at the break.

Attackmen Reed Horanburg found teammate Alex Bitzer to give Messiah their first lead of the contest, 4-3. The Tigers responded quickly with 4 out of the next 5 goals to take a 7-5 advantage into the final stanza. Two goals by Copeland, one by Neward, and a fourth from Tony Green seemed to provide RIT with the all important momentum. Linebaugh netted his third goal of the contest at the 6:36 mark to bring MC within 2.

Dan Videon found Nat Pierce for the first goal of the quarter, to make the score 7-6 RIT. Jono Linebaugh would help Messiah's cause once again, this time by assisting on the final two goals of the game. Jono found Alex Bitzer for the equalizer, and then fellow midfielder Kevin Dennstaedt for the game winner with 4:45 remaining. Linebaugh finished with 3 goals and 2 assists to lead Messiah, while Copeland had 4 goals for the Tigers and Thering added 4 assists.

RIT had much of the possession in the final minutes of the contest, but the Falcon defense held the Tigers scoreless for the final 15:00. Sophomore goalie Chris Gilbert played a big part in the contest, making 12 stops against 7 goals. Tiger goalie Jon Sinclair played equally tough between the pipes, making 12 stops and allowing 8 goals.

The Falcons (1-1) return to action against the Goucher College Gophers on Wednesday, at a site yet to be determined. RIT drops to 0-2 on the season.