Gophers Finally Knock Off Green Terror on Ninth Try

Gophers Finally  Knock Off Green Terror on Ninth Try

WESTMINSTER, Md. — Goucher played McDaniel in the sport of men's lacrosse for the first time back in 1992.

The two in-state rivals met annually for five years, but when the Green Terror won each of the first five head-to-head encounters by at least 10 goals, the series was put on hold for 17 years.

There have been nothing but one-goal games since the series resumed in 2013, but McDaniel continued to come out on top every time and opened up an 8-0 edge in the all-time series.

The two teams met again tonight and, yes, they were once again separated by just a goal at the conclusion of the contest. This time, however, it was the Gophers who had the extra goal.

That extra goal was supplied by Michael Morgan (Austin, Texas/Westwood). The senior midfielder, who also scored a pair of goals in the second period, broke a 6-6 deadlock when he tallied an unassisted goal with just 1:04 left to play.

McDaniel did win the ensuing face-off and Goucher's 7-6 triumph wasn't guaranteed until Matt Messerle (Limerick, Pa./Spring-Ford) stopped a shot by Timothy McNichol with :09 showing on the clock. It was the sophomore goalkeeper's 12th save of the game.

Morgan's game-winning goal was his team-leading sixth of the young season.

With Owen Demmerly (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) answering a goal by Troy Becker that had given the Green Terror (0-3) an early 1-0 lead, the first quarter ended with the teams even at a goal apiece.

The Gophers (2-1) turned a one-goal deficit into a 4-3 advantage in the second period with a pair of extra-man goals that came just 49 seconds apart. Demmerly assisted the one Morgan scored that created the 3-3 tie and then stuck the one that put head coach Brian Kelly's squad back in front.

Exactly three minutes into the third quarter, Goucher saw its lead grow to 5-3 thanks to a goal by Conner Annunziato (West Chester, Pa./Bayerd Rustin) that was assisted by Morgan. McDaniel got off 11 shots in the period, but added only one goal to its total and still trailed 5-4 after three periods.

The Green Terror scored twice in the fourth quarter and both goals produced a tie. After a goal by McNichol at 11:39 made it 5-all, the Gophers went back in front three minutes later on an unassisted goal by Mason Gorman (Boise, Idaho/Eagle). Midway through the period, Becker put one in to even the score at 6-6.

McDaniel may have had the best chance to break the tie when it was presented an extra-man opportunity with 3:43 remaining. It got even tougher for the Gophers when the officials hit them with a 30-second penalty for illegal procedure, putting them two men down for all but the final 30 seconds of the one-minute penalty. The Green Terror, however, got off only one shot before both penalties released and it was high.

Defensively, Ethan Haddaway (Finksburg, Md./Mount St. Joseph) caused three McDaniel turnovers and Blake Russell (Lake Shore, Md./Northeast) collected a total of five ground balls.

Goucher begins a six-game homestand on Saturday when it welcomes King's (Pa.) to Beldon Field. The opening face-off is set for 1 p.m.