Men's Lacrosse Defeats No. 13 Gettysburg in Overtime

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Softball Track & field Baseball

Just about the only negative for the Muhlenberg men’s lacrosse team in its dominant 15-6 win against Swarthmore on Wednesday was the loss of starting defenseman Zach Weiner, who suffered an apparent career-ending injury in the third quarter.

“We’re such a close unit, it was so tough to see him go down like that,” said fellow senior and starting defenseman James Coleman. “We took that mentality that any game could be your last, so go hard all the time and never stop playing.”

If the next game was the last for any of the Mules, or even if it wasn’t, it’s one they’ll remember for a long time. Down 9-4 to nationally ranked Gettysburg with less than eight minutes remaining, Muhlenberg rallied for an incredible 10-9 win.

Kyle Houston
Senior Kyle Houston scored his sixth goal of the season to get the Mules on the board with 14.3 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Mules (6-4, 2-1) tied the game by scoring two goals in the final 15.2 seconds of regulation, the last coming on a shot by sophomore Jason Mertz with one second left. With 2:06 remaining in overtime, sophomore Jon Thomas bounced in his third goal of the game to finish off the comeback with a win.

The victory, Muhlenberg’s second in 12 meetings against Gettysburg since joining the Centennial Conference, bore a resemblance to another game against a nationally ranked team earlier this season. At Stevens, the Mules overcame an eight-goal halftime deficit to force overtime with three goals in the final minute of regulation, only to lose in overtime.

“We never quit – that’s our motto,” said Thomas, who played with Weiner’s number 34 written in tape on his helmet. “We knew we could do it because of the Stevens game. We just wanted to finish this one.”

The winning comeback was the second one of the game. The 13th-ranked Bullets (5-4, 1-1) jumped out to a 3-1 lead before consecutive goals by Mertz and junior Tom Glancy brought the game to a 3-3 tie late in the second quarter.

The Bullets scored the next four goals, however, and took a 7-4 lead into the fourth quarter. Things started to look bleak when Gettysburg extended its margin to 9-4 with a man-up goal three minutes into the fourth quarter, then killed off a two-man disadvantage.

Thomas, held scoreless to that point, began the comeback with his first goal of the game at the 7:48 mark. Glancy and senior Doug Rheiner scored 23 seconds apart shortly thereafter to make it 9-7 with 6:17 left to play.

Muhlenberg was able to score so quickly due to excellent work on the X by senior Ian Jones, who won 15 of 21 faceoffs to break the school record for faceoffs won in a season. Jones was 6-of-7 on faceoffs in the fourth quarter and won every one after Gettysburg’s last goal.

Jon Thomas
Thomas, whose older brother Danny started in place of Weiner, has 20 goals this year. He is the sixth Mule sophomore to score 20 goals in a season.
The comeback seemed to be running out of steam when the Bullets picked up a loose ball in their defensive end with under 50 seconds to play. But under pressure, the Gettysburg defenseman threw the ball away. Glancy scooped up the ball and went right to goal, and although his shot was saved, Thomas scored off an assist from sophomore Pat Farrell on the next shot, making it 9-8 with 15.2 seconds left.

Jones won the ensuing faceoff, but not before some scrambling as valuable seconds ticked away. Rheiner eventually picked up the ball, and from near midfield heaved the ball toward the goal – right to the stick of Mertz, who turned and fired from about 20 yards away to tie the game.

As they did against Stevens, the Mules had the first possession of overtime. They took two shots, and after the second one was saved a Gettysburg player picked up the rebound and attempted to clear it. But after a check from junior Jason Monroe, he threw the ball out of bounds near midfield.

Muhlenberg called a timeout with 2:25 showing on the clock.

“We set up a play for Doug Rheiner, and they shut him off,” said Thomas. “I took the space and got lucky with a nice shot.”

The shot, low and to the far side of the net, gave Thomas his second game-winning goal of the season. It also gave the Mules two wins against nationally ranked teams in a season for the first time in program history.

“We know how good we are, and I hope everyone in the country does now too,” said Thomas.

Muhlenberg outshot Gettysburg by a 51-29 margin, including 31-12 in the second half and overtime. With six wins in their last eight games, the Mules are on their hottest streak since the 2008 team won eight in a row to earn a CC playoff berth.

“This is the most fun game I’ve ever played in,” said Coleman. “It’s been a fantastic week. I couldn’t be happier or more proud of our team. We just need to keep it going.”
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