Gophers Come Close in Initial Encounter with Shoremen

Gophers Come Close in Initial Encounter with Shoremen

Stricklin Makes 14 Saves, Allows Only Two Even-Strength Goals

CHESTERTOWN, Md. — Goucher didn't help itself by going 1-for-8 on extra-man opportunities tonight in the season-opening game against Washington (Md,) and the Gophers definitely hurt their chances of knocking off the Shoremen by giving up a pair of man-down goals.

Still, head coach Kyle Hannan's squad earned a ton of respect throughout the lacrosse world by hanging with one of the sport's most decorated Division III programs. The Shoremen didn't take their first lead until the late stages of the third quarter and were able to come away with a narrow 7-6 victory.

The Gophers, who kept the Shoremen (1-0) off the scoreboard until Bennett Cord's extra-man goal with 1:12 left to play in the second quarter, led 1-0 after one period thanks to an even-strength goal by sophomore attackman Rory Averett (Ivyland, Pa./Council Rock North).

A pair of unassisted goals by sophomore midfielder Matt Lynch (Ivyland, Pa./LaSalle College) put Goucher up 3-0 in the second quarter, but Cord's tally made it 3-1 at the end of the first half.

The Shoremen scored five times on only eight shots in the third quarter. Trey Hilberg stuck a man-up goal 1:33 into the period and then picked up an assist on a goal by Doug Herdegen that created a 3-3 tie. The Gophers (0-1) regained the lead on an unassisted goal by junior defenseman Justin Dunn (Denver, Colo./Mullen) with 2:08 left to play.

With Washington down a man for a minute due to an unnecessary roughness infraction, Goucher had an opportunity to add to its advantage before the start of the fourth quarter. Instead, the Shoremen scored twice before the penalty expired, getting goals from Matt Lewis and Herdegen to go ahead for the first time.

With :30 remaining in the period, Washington assumed a 6-4 lead on a goal by Billy Stafford, but an unassisted goal by freshman midfielder John Curry (Yarmouth, Maine/Yarmouth) with :05 showing on the clock had the Gophers down just 6-5 heading into the final 15:00.

Herdegen's third goal of the contest provided the Shoremen with a 7-5 lead 4:07 into the fourth quarter. The Gophers closed to within 7-6 with 2:14 remaining on an extra-man goal by Curry that was set up by freshman attackman Mike Russo (Frederick, Md./St. John's Catholic Prep).

The two starting goalkeepers combined to make seven saves in the final period. Senior Chris Stricklin (Germantown, Md./Seneca Valley) of the Gophers finished with 14 saves and allowed only two even-strength goals the entire game; freshman Matt Miller sparkled in his collegiate debut for Washington as he turned away 15 shots.

The two in-state Division III rivals had never met before in the sport of men's lacrosse.