Mariners Take Out Gophers, 6-5, in Landmark Semifinals

Mariners Take Out Gophers, 6-5, in Landmark Semifinals

Two Goals, Two Assists from Ingram Fuel Late Rally

TOWSON, Md. — The No. 2 seed was booted from the 2013 Landmark Conference Men's Lacrosse postseason tournament earlier in the day, and now top-seeded Goucher was facing a similar fate in the other semifinal tonight on Beldon Field. The Gophers trailed the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, 6-2, after three periods, so it was either make up that four-goal deficit in 15 minutes or watch the Mariners advance to the championship game.

The Gophers gave it a shot — 17 shots, in fact. Their 17-3 advantage in shots during the fourth quarter yielded only three goals, however, as the Mariners held on for a 6-5 victory.

As a result, for only the second time in the six-year history of the Landmark Conference, Goucher is not in the finals of the men's lacrosse championship tournament. Instead, Merchant Marine will go up against Susquehanna, which upset No. 2 seed Scranton, 7-4, this afternoon.

The Gophers, who just four days earlier concluded the regular season with a 10-5 triumph over Merchant Marine, conceded the first goal of tonight's contest as Troy Smith put the Mariners (9-7) up 1-0 with an unassisted goal midway through the opening period.

Less than two minutes later, Dylan Zook (Purcellville, Va./Loudoun Valley) stuck an unassisted goal for the Gophers (8-8) to create a 1-1 tie.

The next five goals all belonged to the Mariners, who regained the lead on an unassisted goal by Alex Cline with just over six minutes remaining in the first half. With just :57 showing on the clock, Joseph Purcell tacked on an unassisted goal that put the visitors up 3-1 after 30 minutes.

Michael Ackerman had a hand in all three Merchant Marine goals in the third quarter, scoring two of them and picking up an assist on one by Geoff Harty. Ackerman's second goal provided the Mariners with a 6-1 cushion.

The Gophers were able to get one of those goals back before time expired in the third period when Pierce Ingram (Austin, Texas/Westwood) cashed in while a Merchant Marine player was serving a 30-second conduct foul.

More than six minutes ran off the clock in the fourth quarter before Ingram set up a goal by Sam Morgan (Wilmot, N.H./Kearsarge Regional), cutting Merchant Marine's lead to 6-3.

Just 40 seconds later, Ingram tallied his team-leading 26th goal of the season and suddently the two teams were separated by just two goals.

The Gophers closed to with 6-5 courtesy of Zook with 5:07 left. The junior attackman fired a shot from a difficult angle after a pass from Ingram to bring the pro-Goucher crowd of 203 back to life.

Over what time remained, the Gophers were able to get off four shots, one of which went wide and the other three were stopped by freshman goalkeeper Kevin Young, who finished with a career-high 23 saves in the victory. Blake Russell (Pasadena, Md./Northeast) helped Goucher gain possession of the ball two times down the stretch by forcing  two Merchant Marine turnovers; Nathan Cain (Wilmette, Ill./Western Reserve Academy) was also credited with a caused turnover late in the contest.

In addition to causing four turnvers, Bryce Carson (Wyomissing, Pa./Lancaster Country Day School) collected four ground balls during the contest. In net, Connor Mishaw (Wilmington, Del./Brandywine) made nine saves to become only the fourth goalkeeper in the history of Goucher's men's lacrosse program to surpass 600 career saves.

The loss ends Goucher's nine-game winning streak in the series between the two schools, which now stands 9-2 in favor of the Gophers.

The only other time Goucher lost in the Landmark semifinals was in 2009, when the top-seeded Gophers were bounced by Scranton. The Royals went on to lose to Merchant Marine n the finals that year.