ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. - The third-seeded Goucher men's lacrosse team (10-7 overall) fell in the semifinals of the 2018 Landmark Conference Championship to second-seeded Elizabethtown 9-5, on Wolf Field Wednesday afternoon.
In a match that was intense until the very end, Elizabethtown opened the scoring early in the first period. The game was silent until the Blue Jays found the back of the net again with 1:50 left in the opening frame to open a 2-0 lead on the Gophers.
Shortly after, senior midfielder Michael Bulnes (Miami, Fla.) put the Gophers on the board, leaving the score 2-1 in favor of the Blue Jays at the end of the quarter.
Elizabethtown scored quickly again at the beginning of the second, putting the Jays up 3-1. Goucher would not go out quietly, however, as senior midfielder Pierce Bailey (Miami, Fla.) scored less than two minutes later to make it a 3-2 match in favor of E-Town.
Senior midfielder Derek Bitzer (Doylestown, Pa.) ended the second quarter and first half on a high note for the Gophers by hitting twine with an assist from junior attackman Zephan Harnish (Woodsboro, Md.), as the match went into intermission deadlocked at 3-3.
Goucher came out the halftime firing early, as sophomore midfielder Andrew Sade (Lewisberry, Pa.) ran by his defender and found the back of the net, giving the Gophers their first lead of the game at 4-3 two minutes into the second half.
The Blue Jays, however, would re-tie the game quickly after cashing in on a man-up opportunity to make it 4-4. Harnish would give the Gophers the lead one last time on a goal in which Bulnes was credited with an assist on to make it a 5-4 match with 9:21 to go in the period. But, unfortunately for the Gophers, this proved to be the final time on the day they held the lead.
The Blue Jays would go on to score three unanswered goals to finish off the third period to open up a 7-5 lead entering the fourth. There, Elizabethtown held the Gophers scoreless for the remainder of the game and scored two more goals of their own to seal the win.
In goal, Goucher's goalkeeper Matt Messerle (Limerick, Pa.) had 11 saves out of the 20 shots he faced.
Despite dropping today's Landmark Semifinals, it was a successful season for the Goucher men's lacrosse program in 2018.
Finishing with double-digit wins in a year for the first time since 2012, the Gophers qualified for the Landmark Conference Semifinals for the first time since 2014 this season. Goucher also knocked off both Scranton and Catholic in the same year since 2014, as well.