Mercyhurst Rallies for 18-17 OT Win over Limestone
from staff reports
ERIE, Pa. — For the second time in three years, the Mercyhurst men's lacrosse team will play for the NCAA Championship. The tale of how the Lakers advanced to the title game will echo throughout Tullio Field for years to come. Deven Alves scored with 2:56 left in overtime, giving top-ranked Mercyhurst an 18-17 win over second-seeded Limestone in a classic NCAA Tournament Semifinal Saturday afternoon.
A Laker turnover with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter led directly to a Saint goal, putting Limestone ahead, 17-15. After seven shots, Mercyhurst finally scored late as Zac Reid found the back of the net with 58 seconds remaining. Jake Ternosky won yet another faceoff on the ensuing draw, allowing the Saints to try to run out of the clock. Limestone ran around the offensive zone, eventually calling timeout with 18 seconds to play.
Tor Reinholdt had possession on the restart, but Peter Plaskey forced Reinholdt to turn the ball over, giving the hosts one last attempt. Ryan Sullivan carried the ball to midfield and hit James Chayka on the left side. The senior cut back to the right and fired from nine yards out, scoring with 4.1 seconds showing on the clock. The crowd of 1,042 was delirious as time ran out and overtime began.
Ternosky won his 28th draw of the day to open the extra period. The senior quickly attacked, firing a shot that Michael Grace got just enough of, keeping the game alive. After clearing the ball, Coach Chris Ryan called timeout. Alves ended up with the ball behind the net. The Canandaigua, New York, native drove to the left of Limestone goalie Christian Dzwilewski and spun to create separation. Alves etched his name in Laker lore with a bouncing shot that beat Dzwilewski and sent Mercyhurst to Philadelphia.
The road to that point was at least as thrilling as the finish. Mercyhurst and Limestone stood toe-to-toe and traded their best shots for over 61 minutes in a contest that saw 12 ties. Jake McAndrew opened scoring with 11:59 left in the first quarter. The Saints evened the score almost three minutes later, but Alves found the back of the net with 1:20 to play, giving the home team a 2-1 edge through a period.
After a Limestone goal at the 7:28 mark of the second frame, Mercyhurst took control. Brady Heseltine hit Brian Scheetz for a goal 16 seconds after the Saints tied it. Less than two minutes later, Scheetz assisted on a Reid goal. Mitch McAvoy won the ensuing faceoff and sprinted in, scoring his ninth goal of the season for a 5-2 advantage with 5:06 left in the half. Reinholdt, Riley Loewen, and Corey Rich each scored in the final 3:09 of the first half, sending the match into the half tied at 5.
In the third period, a switch was flipped and the teams took
off, combining for 13 goals in an 11-minute span. Chayka gave the
Lakers a 6-5 lead with 11:53 remaining in the quarter, but
Limestone responded with three goals in 34 seconds, taking an 8-6
edge and stunning the Laker faithful. Mercyhurst quickly answered,
as Reid scored and then Scheetz hit Heseltine for a man-up goal
with 7:15 left, pulling the hosts back to even at 8.
Ternosky was just getting rolling though, controlling the faceoff X as the Saints continued to pound the Laker defense. Luckily for Mercyhurst, Reid was up to the challenge. Loewen scored with 7:04 to play, but Reid came back with a goal to tie it at 9. After a Saint goal with 3:12 remaining, Reid tied it again. Todd Nakasuji scored 26 seconds later, but Scheetz found Reid with 1:06 showing on the clock, making it 11-all. Limestone closed the high-flying quarter with a goal just eight seconds later.
In the fourth quarter, McAndrew scored with 11:05 to go, getting the Lakers even again. Ternosky then took matters into his own hands, winning the draw and scoring five seconds later. Ternosky was called for a penalty on the next faceoff, setting up the Lakers. Scheetz assisted on yet another Reid goal to make it 13-all with 10:48 to go. Nakasuji then scored two goals in a row 15 seconds apart. Chayka found Alves and then McAndrew finished a Scheetz pass to even the score again.
Reid finished with a career-high seven goals. It's the most by a Laker since 2009, when Cameron McLean scored seven times against Dominican (NY). Scheetz totaled a goal and six assists. Alves and McAndrew each had a hat trick, while Chayka posted two goals and an assist. Heseltine added a goal and an assist. Grace made 12 saves in goal. Rich paced the Saints with three goals and three assists, while Dzwilewski compiled 13 stops in net.
Mercyhurst improved to 18-0 in 2013 and will face Le Moyne in the NCAA Championship on Sunday, May 26, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.