Elizabethtown vs. Messiah
April 11, 2012
The Game Story:
ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. — Starting 0-3 in Commonwealth Conference play was not something the Elizabethtown College men's lacrosse team would allow to enter its collective mind. The Blue Jays played with a vigor against their rivals from Messiah and Cory Boushell scored his first hat trick of the season in a 10-8 win at Wolf Field Wednesday afternoon. The victory moved E-town right back into the thick of the league playoff race with a showdown against Albright in its home finale looming Saturday.

Sean O'Neill's 10th goal of the year at 10:41 of the first quarter answered an early man-up marker for the Falcons (6-3, 1-1 CC). O'Neill, Derek Kline and Donnie Krausse each scored their 10th goals of the season in the win, giving the Blue Jays five double-digit goal scorers this season.

Messiah went back in front a few minutes later behind James Baden's 12th goal. Nate Nester assisted on a Falcon goal for the 12th time this season by setting up Baden.

Wednesday's game was close all the way, an expected outcome from two bitter rivals. The game was knotted after a period and the Jays (6-5, 1-2 CC) held a 5-4 edge at halftime.

Momentum stacked up in E-town's favor during the third quarter, as the Blue Jays secured goals from Krausse, Shawn Corcoran and Kline to pull ahead 8-5. Just 15 minutes stood between the Jays and a third win over Messiah in the last four seasons.

Nester opened the fourth quarter scoring 1:36 in off a pass from Brian Meenan. Meenan had two points entering the showdown with E-town, but he exploded for five points on two goals and three assists.

O'Neill's 11th goal of the season (second of the day) restored the three-goal lead for E-town, but again Messiah drew close. Kevan Schellenberg found the back of the net for his team-leading 28th goal at 7:34. Heath Kupecky scored MC's first and last goal. Kupecky's late strike with 1:45 remaining had the Falcons within one at 9-8.

The Blue Jays would not falter on this day, though. A pair of tough one-goal defeats solidified head coach Terry Corcoran's squad for the opportunity presented to them. Boushell capped the hat trick and the game with a goal in the final 45 seconds after Messiah sent goalie Steve Kozuhowski out of his goal to act as another defender.

"Turnovers were the difference in this game" commented Corcoran. Were they ever. The Blue Jays forced many and the Falcons contributed to a few. In the end, Messiah turned it over 20 times to the Jays' 12.

"This was a huge game for us, not just because of the rivalry, but also because we needed to get a 'W' in league play," said E-town's seventh year head coach. "Our guys are starting to come along and now we've got a huge one with Albright Saturday."

The defense has been steady all year and Wednesday was no exception. Starters Dillon McDevitt, Nick Thompson and Jason Kelley laid the foundation against the Falcons. Reserves Matt Frey and Brian Boring upheld that foundation. With help from the middies, E-town was able to keep Messiah's two leading scorers nearly dead silent. Schellenberg and Kyle Sproles had 57 points between them coming into the game, but left with only Schellenberg's fourth quarter goal to speak of.

Boushell totaled five points with a pair of helpers to go along with his three goals. He ran his goal scoring and points streaks to six games each. O'Neill chipped in three points for E-town and Kline had his first multi-goal game in the last seven.

Messiah's 37 shots topped E-town's 31, but the Falcons didn't generate a majority of those attempts until the fourth quarter. There, they ripped 15 chances towards the E-town cage. Brendan Corcoran stopped seven shots for the Jays.

Though they went 0-of-3 on the man advantage, the Blue Jays had their best game possession wise, with 18 successful clears on 19 attempts.

Elizabethtown will recognize its nine seniors prior to Saturday's game against 11-1 Albright. The Lions are in their inaugural season and are 1-0 in conference play after knocking off defending MAC Champion Widener last Saturday. The lacrosse team encourages the campus community to come out and show their support Saturday at 1 p.m. at Wolf Field. Admission, as it is to all regular season home games on campus, is free.