The Bullets of Gettysburg put together what goalie Tim McGinnis called, “Our best game of the season,” to defeat Washington College 15-7 in front of 657 fans at Musselman Stadium. With the victory the Bullets earned the automatic qualifier for the NCAA tournament from the Centennial Conference while the Shoremen will not be invited. Gettysburg opened up a 5-1 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. This game was not nearly as close as the 7-5 match-up earlier in the season. “We heard they had this great plan to lose the first game on purpose but we had a better plan today, to win,” said senior midfielder Tommy Pearce who had four goals for the Bullets.
Gettysburg won the face and gave the ball to Pearce who pulled his man, Curtis Gilbert, almost to the midfield line then took him to goal. The slide did not get there in time and Pearce ripped a bounce shot lefty that found the net. On the Bullets next possession Rich Sharp went one-on-one with Steve Berger. Berger tried to push and Sharp slid off and finished. Two minutes later Gettysburg did the same thing and it was Matt Twombly dodging from the side to stick it high. Washington called time-out to try and fix the defensive problem of absent slides. The WAC was soon able to score with an extra-man opportunity after Gettysburg was hit with a hold call. Eric Kuehn had the goal when he caught the pass from Berger and ripped it high. Gettysburg got an EMO goal of their own next. An illegal body check call with 1:32 remaining in the first quarter allowed the Bullets to score four seconds later with Pearce converting a feed from Wes Cadman. It looked like 4-1 would be the score at the end of the quarter but the Bullets were able to add to their total as Chris Baran found Pete Milliman cutting on the crease with 5 seconds remaining.
The WAC was able to narrow the spread early in the second with Craig Rentch stepping through a check to cank a shot past McGinnis. Gettysburg answered with Ric Bremer scoring from 7 yards out after a great look by Charlie Hanchett. The Shoremen answered in a unique way as defenseman Mike Campbell scooped up the ground ball dodged through two defenders and scored. Coach Clarke might think of giving the kid a short stick with moves like that. The Bullets really opened up their lead with the next three goals. Pearce repeated his move from earlier in the game except this time it was on Jeremy Shannon. Gettysburg won the face; Hanchett got the ball at X and hit Bremer who stuck it low. Pearce capped off the run with a bounce shot from about 10 yards out that tucked in right under the pipe. Washington called time-out and scored on their next possession. Rentch took it himself and bounce one in to make the score 9-4. The Shoremen had a great opportunity to bring them even closer with a minute to play. Kuehn took a side-arm shot from 5 yards out with no one between him and the keeper but McGinnis deflected it over the goal. It was a great stop. Gettysburg with four seconds left in the half as Bremer stuck in from right in front after some real quick ball movement.
Washington cut the lead back down to five goals with a crank shot, five-hole by Kuehn on EMO. Gettysburg kept rolling though and scored two more in the quarter while playing tough defense. Twombly dodged from behind and put it in after his defender got caught in the net. With 4:20 remaining in the third quarter Washington was hit with a slash call on their ride. It was a careless play by the attack. Bremer took advantage of the situation and put his team up 12-5.
The Bullets continued their domination into the fourth quarter. Washington did score first with Jon Fellows on an off-speed quick stick. Gettysburg got an EMO goal from Wes Cadman next after the WAC was hit with another penalty. Rentch took it authoritatively to goal just like he had done earlier to make the score 13-7 but his offense couldn’t muster another goal while the Bullets piled on two more for a final of 15-7.
The senior class at Gettysburg managed to go four years without a loss in conference play. The Bullets out shot the WAC 37-29. Coach Clarke was quite curt commenting on his team’s performance, “We got murdered start to finish.” He talked about Gettysburg’s first three goals all coming off dodges, “We didn’t slide when we needed to slide. They dodged very hard. It seemed like we would take care of one guy and they would have another guy to get ya.” Clarke did though have some colorful words regarding the AQ, “I am in firm disagreement with the NCAA’s system of automatic qualifiers. It does not give some of the best teams an opportunity to compete yet it gives some teams who aren’t even in the Top 100 a shot. That does not seem like equal opportunity to me.” He went on further, “If this was academics, W&L (Washington & Lee) would have gotten an A for their season but you have teams in the tournament who graded with a D-. I don’t think that is what we want to teach the youth of America.” Coach Janczyk of Gettysburg said he didn’t speak to his team about this possibly being their last game of the season, “We tried to rise above it. It is something I so strongly disagree with I have to be careful with what I say. We tried to talk about other things like staying focused after Friday’s game.” Janczyk also said, “We have been believing all year we were going to be NCAA Champions and we are going to keep on believing.”
Washington will end their season on Saturday versus Salisbury St. while Gettysburg will wait to hear who they will face in the NCAA tournament.
Gettysburg vs. Washington College