It was never supposed to be this way. The Greater Midatlantic Athletic Conference’s (G-MAC) sponsorship of men’s lacrosse was supposed to turn it into one of the country’s premier conferences — not to mention taking a near-certain game-winner early in the fourth quarter.
But with fourth-ranked Seton Hill looming April 7, the Lakers (5-3, 1-1 G-MAC) have suffered their second-straight upset on Tullio Field March 31, this time falling victim to a furious fourth-quarter rally by the visiting Rockhurst University Eagles. With five unanswered goals in the final 8:48 — including the equalizer just nine seconds after falling behind — the Eagles snatched a 12-8 victory, catapulting themselves into the Top 20. With 8:57 left in the fourth quarter in a 7-all contest, the Lakers’ Colin Greenway took advantage of a clear and found his second of the game unassisted that in most other contest would have held its own.
But the Lakers’ defense did settle in after, clearing three straight offensive opportunities for the visitors and allowing just four wide shots. Alec Starr then turned aside a Collin Fischer shot to allow the Lakers to clear, setting up Dan Kritkausy to find Nathan Grennon for the Lakers to halve their deficit. Grennon followed this up with 17 seconds left on the first-quarter clock, scoring once more. After exchanging turnovers around the 16-minute mark, Austin Robare was charged with a critical giveaway coming directly off a Laker timeout, where Alex Pfeil picked up the grounder.
It took four shots wide of the cage over the next 1:33 for the Eagles’ Kai Trujillo to team up with Fischer for the first time during the contest at 7:44 of the second. Eagle Blake Bellinger released the ensuing draw for Greenway to secure, allowing Robare to find Oran Horn just 27 seconds later. The Eagles then coaxed Horn into a holding minor nearly 1:20 after, utilizing a Connor Bateman grounder off of a Brandon May turnover with four seconds left in the powerplay, setting up the attack. Sam Lindahl only needed just 34 seconds more to find Michael Beckham for his second of the game.
The Lakers failed to stop Lindahl again as he picked up a grounder to direct the offense and begin a sequence ending with Jake Martin’s second of the contest. The Lakers regrouped defensively to open the third, coercing another timeout just 4:20 in, before a failed clear allowed Grennon to find Horn on 36 minutes to cut the deficit to a single tally. The Lakers’ Devin Pipher picked up Greg Weyl’s causal into Brad Norenberg’s grounder off the draw to allow Greenway his 12th of the campaign just 1:09 later. Catching a break in their offensive zone midway through the quarter, the Eagles’ Pfeil (10-1, 6.99) turned aside a shot from Grennon but fell behind him and into the net for the Lakers’ first lead of the afternoon.
But after another twist into the plot with a successful clear and two shots wide of Pfeil, Bateman coaxed Dominic Perna into a giveaway in the Eagles’ defensive zone on almost exactly 42 minutes.
A successful clear and three shots wide of Starr allowed a turnover off of Drake O’Neill to be negated by Trujillo, causing Jarrett Cook into a giveaway of his own; he found Fischer for the second time just 13 seconds after the Lakers’ second timeout. Not to be outdone with mistakes on both sides, Pipher grabbed a takeaway off of Pfeil to immediately open the fourth, and it would be just 1:36 before he found Horn to put the hosts in front again. However, the visitors had one last opening act before their epic rally, as a clear with 3:05 elapsed in the fourth allowed O’Neill to find his 20th of the season at 4:19 of the period.
But the Eagles’ Fischer immediately had a response, seizing the grounder from Zach Bodeau and taking a pass from Trujillo for his fourth of the game. The Eagles’ score would be their (11-1, 5-1 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) third equalizer of the second half and second in a 1:53 stretch of the fourth. Another grounder off of the Eagles’ Bodeau allowed Lindahl to grab one of his own—part of 13 fourth-quarter grounders for the Eagles and 36 overall. Lindahl would find his second of the game and 28th of the season past Starr (5-2, 6.59) to hand the Lakers a second straight allowed deciding tally in the fourth quarter. Lindahl scored the next two tallies in a span of just 2:02, before a tripping call on Weyl with 2:43 remaining.
This allowed Beckham to score on the powerplay just 35 seconds later. His assist man, Martin repeated the feat with 1:23 left in regulation. Seton Hill University is the Lakers’ next opponent. Gametime is noon at Tullio Field.