The Elizabethtown College men’s lacrosse team fell just short in overtime to be ousted from a playoff berth by Lebanon Valley College on Saturday, April 27. The Blue Jays overcame a three goal deficit to force the extra period. However, three minutes into overtime the Flying Dutchmen prevailed and found a spot in the Commonwealth Conference playoffs.
LVC failed to trail in the game despite the game being tied on five different occasions. LVC began the scoring five minutes into the game from a goal by Jordan Mayr. Etown would quickly respond, 25 seconds later. After a groundball pickup by freshman Tucker Keefer, freshman Dillon O’Dell put one past to draw the game at 1-1.
The Flying Dutchmen and the Blue Jays exchanged the next four goals back and forth. For the Dutchmen, Klayton Garman and Ian Schmid provided the goals for LVC. Junior Craig Hunsburger and O’Dell added unassisted goals to knot the game at 3-3 to conclude the first half.
LVC came out firing early in the second half. They took the next three goals to put them back in the lead 6-3. Garman added another goal, while Scott Travers and Alex Beard found the scoring sheet as well. With 3:34 left in the third period, Etown freshman striker Zach Nichols trimmed the lead in favor of LVC 6-4 from a pass from senior Cory Boushell.
Etown and its seniors knew that this could be their last game if they did not win. The Blue Jays came out fierce in the fourth quarter. The Blue Jays would throw 13 shots, seven of them on goal compared to the Flying Dutchmen’s six shots, four on goal in the second half.
The game became tied after two straight Blue Jay goals. O’Dell found the net for his 18th goal on the season and Boushell added another, his 22nd goal of the season to tie the game 6-6. With five minutes remaining in regulation, each team knew every possession was important. With just over three minutes remaining, LVC regained the lead 7-6 from Mayr’s second goal of the game.
The Blue Jays fought back and within 28 seconds had the game at a stalemate once again, this time at 7-7. After a faceoff win from Hunsburger (12-19 on face-offs on the afternoon), freshman Tucker Keefer scored his 10th goal of the season with 2:51 remaining of regulation. Etown would fire two shots in the last five seconds, but LVC goalie, Mike Moll would make two clutch saves.
Overtime for men’s lacrosse features golden goal rules, whoever scores first wins the game. With their playoffs on the line, Hunsburger would win yet another faceoff to give the visiting squad the first chance. After a Blue Jay turnover and a successful clear by LVC, the Dutchmen would call a timeout to set up an offensive play. With 1:01 remaining in overtime, Mayr ended the game with a hat trick, his third goal of the game to put the Flying Dutchmen into the playoffs.
Despite the loss, the Blue Jays controlled many aspects of the game. Etown won faceoffs 12 of 19, outshot LVC 41-27, and shots on goal 24-16. The Blue Jays ended the season over .500 with an 8-6 (3-5 CC) record overall.
Etown, which is led by a strong senior class, still has a bright future in front of them. Many underclassmen, specifically freshmen, have seen lots of playing time this season. First year players contributed 58 of the 127 goals for the Blue Jays this year, almost half of their goals scored. Etown looks to end their two year drought of not making the playoffs next year. Etown has not faced a three year period of not making the playoffs and hope to change that next year.