Gophers Dismiss Cardinals, Earn Landmark Title

Gophers Dismiss Cardinals, Earn Landmark Title

Victory Lands Goucher Into Division III Playoffs for First Time

TOWSON, Md. — The largest crowd in the history of Gopher Stadium was on hand today to witness the biggest moment in the history of Goucher's men's lacrosse program — the first conference championship!

The Gophers captured the 2010 Landmark Conference title by knocking off Catholic, 11-4, in front of an excited and supportive crowd of 519 fans. With the win comes an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs — another first in the program's 19-year existence.

The Gophers (14-3) took only :07 to get on the scoreboard against the Cardinals. Nick LaBricciosa (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) controlled the opening face-off and fed the ball on the run to Rory Averett (Ivyland, Pa./Council Rock North), who ripped a shot into the back of the net for the first of the five goals he would tally in the game.

Back-to-back goals just 2:24 apart by Mike Scotto and Jimmy Bitonti allowed Catholic to go ahead 2-1, but the Gophers didn't trail for long. Just 1:03 after Bitonti's goal put the Cardinals (12-4) in front, an unassisted goal by Kyle Boncaro (Geneva, N.Y./Geneva) created a 2-2 tie.

Goucher took the lead for good on an unassisted goal by Jacob Fratella (Wilmington, Del./Brandywine) with 2:41 remaining in the opening period.

Averett stuck a pair of extra-man goals and one even-strength goal in the second quarter as the Gophers, who established a new record for most wins in a season, walked off the field at the end of the first half enjoying a 7-2 advantage.

Just :16 into the third quarter, Matt Lynch (Ivyland, Pa./LaSalle College) picked up his third assist of the day on an extra-man goal by Boncaro that made the score 8-2.

Defensively, senior goalkeeper Chris Stricklin (Germantown, Md./Seneca Valley) was credited with a career-high 17 saves and junior defenseman Justin Dunn (Denver, Colo./Mullen) with six caused turnovers in the victory.

While capturing the Landmark title and earning a spot in the Division III tournament matter the most, today's victory was also significant in that it extended their current winning streak to nine games, the longest in program history; it maintained Goucher's perfect all-time record against Catholic in the sport of men's lacrosse, now 15-0, and it was Kyle Hannan's 100th win in his 10 seasons as head coach of the Gophers.