On a Saturday afternoon that seemed destined for a great lacrosse game, the #2-Gettysburg Bullets traveled down to Chestertown, MD to face the #3-Washington Shoremen. Coming off their first loss of the season to #1-Middlebury, the Bullets were looking to rebound against a more than formidable opponent in the Shoremen. This game has become a great D3 rivalry because both are consistently top ten teams and this is a conference game with serious Centennial Conference and NCAA playoff implications. Both teams tend to be the favorites, year in and year out, to win the conference (either Washington or Gettysburg have won the conference since its inception in 1994). It would be safe to say that the winner of today’s game would most likely have the honor of hosting the Centennial Conference Championship at the end of April which holds a ticket for the winner to the big dance in May.
Washington College opened the scoring at the 12:59 mark when #14-Jon Fellows scored unassisted as he drove with his right hand from behind the goal and wrapped it in around Gettysburg goalie #6-Tim McGinnis. The Shoremen would go up 2-0 at the 9:48 mark when attackman #21-Craig Rentch scored unassisted. Gettysburg would answer with their only goal of the first quarter when midfielder #5-Nick Purkat scored unassisted on an invert when he ran by his man finishing in close on Washington College goalie #4-Alex Pirani. The first quarter ended with Washington leading 2-1 over Gettysburg.
The Bullets would tied the score up at 2 apiece when #13-Jake Van Nostrand converted a feed from Purkat while Gettysburg was on a two-man advantage. Van Nostrand rang in again less then a minute later at 11:16 in the second as he took a feed from a dodging #16-Pete Milliman. With that goal, Gettysburg took their first lead of the game and would never trail the Shoremen again. Washington College would tie it up 3-3 at the 9:58 mark when midfielder #41-Randy Vane dodged down the left pipe and stuck one lefty up top on McGinnis. Gettysburg would re-take the lead at 4-3 at 3:57 when attackman #20-Ric Bremer would score his first goal (of a game high four goals on the day) off a crease feed from Van Nostrand. This would end the first half scoring, leaving the scoreboard reading 4-3 in the favor of Gettysburg.
Washington opened the 3rd quarter man-up due to a questionable pushing call against Gettysburg with just 4 seconds left in the second quarter. WAC capitalized on the man-up opportunity just 18 seconds in on a #6-Eric Kuehn goal assisted by #7-Stephen Berger. This tied the score at four and would be the last time the two teams would be even on the day. Gettysburg’s defense put the clamps on the Shoremen offense as they held them scoreless over the next 20 minutes of the game. This 20 minute defensive lockdown was highlighted by two lengthy Washington College possessions that lasted somewhere between 4-5 minutes total (which in lacrosse time seems like an eternity). While the Bullets defense may have stood tall, the Shoremen offense showed great poise and discipline in running their sets over such an extended period of time. WAC was able to take some legitimate shots and create some opportunities, but each time goalie McGinnis stepped up making some nice saves. This defensive play by the Bullets helped their offense build a 6-4 lead by the end of quarter off of goals by #8-Rich Sharp and Bremer.
Gettysburg opened the scoring in the fourth on a great individual effort by midfielder #17-John O’Bannon as he was able to bounce one in while being dragged to the ground drawing a holding flag (which was wiped out by the goal). Washington College scored for the first time since 14:42 of the third quarter when Rentch scored his second goal of the day unassisted at 9:38 to make the score 7-5. The Bullets would score the next three goals of the game to take a 10-5 lead with goals at 8:54 by Bremer, 6:18 by Milliman, and 4:30 when Bremer scored his fourth goal of the day. Although it may have seemed as if the Bullets were pulling away, WAC started to face off with three shorties to create some instant offense. They responded by controlling the next two face-offs and scoring off of each one at the 3:55 mark on Rentch’s third goal of the day after running by his defenseman. Then just 31 seconds later they notched their 7th and final goal of the day on a Kuehn goal from Rentch. Gettysburg gained possession of the next face-off and went in to their two-minute offense to help run out a majority of the remaining time in the game.
Today’s game was not only a big matchup involving the #2 and #3 ranked teams in the nation; this game also had a much larger impact on the two teams’ seasons. This was Gettysburg’s second and biggest conference win of the year while Washington falls to 0-1 in the conference. With this win the Bullets have a leg up in the conference and in hosting the Centennial Conference tournament at the end of April. Washington moves to 6-1 on the year and will face another conference foe in Franklin and Marshall next Saturday, April 6. The Bullets will host the Fords of Haverford on Wednesday, April 3.
Washington College vs. Gettysburg