Roanoke College outlasted the Gettysburg College Bullets in a classic DIII match-up, 13-12. Roanoke moves on to face Salisbury in the DIII Final Four. To best the Bullets, Roanoke needed big days from Chaz Carlson, Zack Thomas and Chris Keating, who contributed 4, 3 and 3 goals respectively. The story of the day was the play of senior All-American goalie Matt Madalon. Madalon was injured in the third quarter, but returned despite a noticeable limp. He played out of his mind with 19 saves. Gettysburg had a balanced scoring effort with 4 points from junior middies Kevin Freehill (3,1) and Jared Harriman (3,1). Despite outshooting Roanoke, 55-26, Gettsyburg couldn't score in the waning minutes and fell for the third straight year in the NCAA quarterfinals. Full story to come, for now just enjoy the pictures...
As much of a cliché as it is, it really is unfortunate that some games have to have a winner and a loser. The match-up between Roanoke and Gettysburg lived up to the hype. Regardless of which ranking you look at, they were #2 and 3 in the south, and arguably the country. Both had different styles of play. Roanoke plays, as head coach Bill Pilate describes, “helter-skelter run-and-gun style, we really enjoy that, that causes some match-up problems for people.” Gettysburg, on the other hand runs a much more structured, ball-control offense. Their defense tends to play good, fundamental defense, not go for homerun takeaways and really just let the plays develop and the slides come. Contrasted with Roanoke’s defense that “defends you coming off the bus” according to Gettysburg head coach Hank Janczyk.
The day before the game, Janczyk had this to say of the match-up. “I think we’ve been able to change our style to the opponents and I think we’re going to have to be able to run with them when we can. But I think we’re also going to have some poise as far as respecting the ball a little bit,” he said. “If we can do that and keep the ball in our sticks versus their pressure and then be able to push the ball and find some good shots I think we can do some good things.”
His prediction of the flow and keys of the game was pretty much spot on. From the start, Gettysburg did what they could to control their pace, while Roanoke, predictably ran and took their opportunities at full speed. Statistically it would be easy to say that Gettysburg should have won the game. They outshot Roanoke 55-26, had 4 more groundballs and dominated the face-off circle. However, the X-factor of this game was in net for Roanoke, in All-American Matt Madalon. Madalon contributed 19 saves on the day, which by itself is an impressive day. Factor in the fact that he went down in the third quarter with what appeared to be a quad or a hamstring injury. He limped off, was wrapped back together by the Roanoke training staff and sent back in the game. He didn’t have the same quickness or agility to move, which was noticeable on one near shot that he bit low and had trouble getting up, or just moving side-to-side in the net…he wasn’t the same player. However, he played the rest of the game and contributed five saves in the 4th quarter to stifle the Gettysburg rally. It wouldn’t be fair not to mention the play of Roanoke sophomore back-up Drew Bowers either. He had only played about 38 minutes this season, but yet when Madalon went down, a cold Bowers stepped in and Roanoke didn’t miss a beat. He only had to made one save, but it was still big. He had to come in later in the game as well when Madalon received a penalty for decking Chase Stewart in front of the crease.
Gettysburg did have a few things they didn’t capitalize on. They let 7 extra-man opportunities float away, as they only capitalized on 2 of their 9 chances. They also had quite a few near misses as good scoring opportunities presented themselves. They were just off the mark dinking at least four pipes.
As Janczyk mentioned they did play with poise late in the game and really relied on their senior leadership to claw back into the game. They never let the lead get above 4 goals and really fought to keep it within 2. The game was tied early at 1 after Gettysburg struck first. Roanoke went on a 4 goal run to start their scoring to end the first period. The highlights of the run were Chris Keating’s no angle behind-the-back shot with 1:17 left that caught Gettysburg goalie Pat Vaughan out of position and the goal that Zack Thomas snuck in with just :02 to play in the 1st. Goals like that can come back to haunt a team.
The 3rd quarter saw both teams trade 2-goal runs, and again in the 4th quarter. Gettysburg seemed to finally be regaining momentum as they cut the lead to 11-10 with 8:55 to play. Roanoke, however, responded with goals with 6:28 and 5:52 left to stretch the lead to 3. The battle-tested and experienced Bullets remained calm and were able to respond with a Jared Harriman goal with 5:07 to play and on the ensuing face-off a great individual effort by Chris Renzi to push the game to 13-12. With :36 left on the clock, Gettysburg was awarded another man-up opportunity on an offsides call. They, however, failed to get off a quality shot and the game ended in Roanoke’s favor.
In the end, the game was really an exciting game. You had the feeling that if it was played 10 times, there’d be 10 different outcomes. It was also exciting because each team has senior All-Americans at pretty much every position who were playing knowing it could be their last game. Senior Chris Keating at the midfield for Roanoke notched a hat trick, with one pretty behind-the-back goal, and was a presence all over the field. Gettysburg senior Chris Renzi had a goal and an assist while going a dominant 18 of 28 facing off with 10 groundballs. Roanoke defenders Ben Love and Rich Li applied pressure all over the field with Love contributing 4 groundballs. Gettysburg attackman Chase Stewart played significant minutes late in the game as he returned from a back injury. He showed flashes of brilliance and reminded everyone of why he was a four year starter. Both goalies were All-Americans last year and will be this year. Madalon played on his head, while Vaughan contributed 10 saves with his pressure out style of play where he’s often found at the edge of the crease, if not out of it. At times, Roanoke was able to exploit it because they can move the ball pretty well. At other times, Vaughan was there to pick off and disrupt plays that other goalies don’t make.
Gettysburg loses a lot of pieces of their offensive puzzle as four year starters at attack Chase Stewart and Evan Gallant, along with two year starter Bryan Pryor all leave the Battlefield. Renzi, an honorable mention All-American in ’05, also lives some big shoes to fill at the face-off circle. Luckily, Vaughan, the defense and a healthy amount of middies return, so expect Gettysburg to be right back in the hunt next season.
Ultimately, it was a refreshing game to see because as I go back and look through my game stories from the year, there have been a lot of snoozers. This was what the NCAA Tournament is designed to do. Pit the best against the best. Two different styles, two great teams from two great conferences with a lot of great players thrown onto the same field (albeit astro turf) and both teams played it that way. For now, I’ll get off my soapbox and really hope that the play on Memorial Day gets somewhere near the excitement of today’s game. It’s ashame that someone had to lose today, but a rematch between Roanoke and Salisbury is certainly an attractive result. Salisbury bested the Maroons back in March, but Roanoke has come a long way since. Expect both teams to get above 12 goals and don’t be surprised if the outcome is decided by a goal.
|Kevin Freehill||(3, 1)|
|Jared Harriman||(2, 2)|
|Trip Dyer||(2, 0)|
|Chris Renzi||(1, 1)|
|Brian Pryor||(2, 0)|
|Evan Gallant||(1, 1)|
|Chase Stewart||(1, 0)|
|Greg Montgomery||(0, 1)|
|Pat Vaughan||10 (0.435)|