Survive and Advance: Bullets, Werner Hold Off Ursinus in Double OT

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GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Junior Paul Werner (Westfield, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) bounced in a shot in front of the cage off a pass from sophomore Reed Barbe (Greenwich, Conn./Suffield Academy) with 2:50 left in the second overtime, vaulting the second-ranked Gettysburg College men’s lacrosse team to a 10-9 victory over 13th-ranked Ursinus College in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament at a sunny Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium on Saturday.

The Bullets (19-0) added another victory to their school-record wins total, pushed their school-record winning streak to 19, and will now host third-ranked and undefeated Ohio Wesleyan University, a 12-11 winner over Albion College on Saturday, in the NCAA quarterfinals on Wednesday. Game time will be announced on Monday.

Senior Brendan Morris (Waccabuc, N.Y./John Jay) tied a career-high with four goals for the second game in a row and handed out one assist to lead Gettysburg, which defeated Ursinus (14-4) for the second time in eight days and for the third time this season. The Bullets edged the Bears 9-7 in the regular season and 11-10 in the Centennial Conference championship game a week ago, and the third match-up was just as thrilling.

As it did in the conference final, Ursinus rallied after falling into an early hole. Gettysburg built a 6-2 lead with 6:53 left in the second quarter, only to see the Bears come back and tie the game twice. Logan Panaccione pulled Ursinus even at 8-8 with 1:35 left to force overtime, then nearly won it in the closing seconds of regulation, when he drilled the right post with a shot in front. But Gettysburg would take the only three shots in the extra session, capped by the game-winner. From X, Barbe found a cutting Werner, who beat Neff from the left post before the Gettysburg sideline swarmed him behind the goal in celebration.

Senior Robby Maddux (Baltimore, Md./St. Paul’s) added three goals for Gettysburg while junior Jameson Smith (Glen Ridge, N.J./Glen Ridge) scored twice. Defensively, senior Nick Alibrandi (Fort Salonga, N.Y./St. Anthony’s) picked up five ground ball, sophomore Chris Palladino (Basking Ridge, N.J./Ridge) posted three caused turnovers, and freshman Tim Brady (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) registered seven saves. Freshman Geoff Fulgione (North Andover, Mass./Brook School) went 11-for-21 on face-offs.

Brian Neff made 16 saves to lead Ursinus while Steve Mussoline posted two goals and two assists for the Bears. Mark Stratton contributed two goals and one assist.

The Bullets never trailed after scoring the game’s first three goals. Maddux scored off a dish from Barbe 4:17 into the contest before Morris tallied twice, with the second coming off a pass from sophomore Sean Fumai (Weston, Conn./Weston) with 3:12 left in the opening period.

Ursinus got on the board when Tucker Noel scored a man-up goal four seconds before the horn to make it 3-1 heading into the second stanza.

Smith scored both of his goals over a 4:58 span at the start of the second quarter, and Maddux buried a shot off Morris dish to hand the Bullets their 6-2 advantage with 6:53 showing.

The Bears climbed back into it at the end of the half, receiving goals from Gerard Brown and Mussoline over the final six minutes to cut the deficit to 6-4 heading into the break.

Palladino sparked the first goal of the second half, intercepting a pass before racing it downfield and dishing it off to Morris, who converted to make it a three-goal game. However, Ursinus refused to go away and used a 4-1 run over a 13:48 stretch to pull even.

Mike Neal and Stratton kicked off the rally, going back-to-back to make it 7-6 with 8:56 remaining in the third quarter, but Maddux stemmed the run when he buried a dish from freshman Austin Schoenfeld (Rockville, Md./Thomas S. Wootton) with 7:44 left in the third period. It was the 60th tally of the season for Maddux, who becomes just the second player in school history to reach the mark, joining Costa Alvanos ’85, who scored a school-record 67 goals in 1985.

Weber brought Ursinus to within 8-7 when he scored with 40 seconds left in the quarter, and Mussoline tied the game for the first time when he struck with 12:48 showing.

Morris answered with a big goal with 5:42 left, emerging from a scrum in front of the net before flipping in a shot to put Gettysburg back in front at 9-8 before Pannaccione’s late tally and near-game-winner.

Ursinus won the opening face-off in overtime but turned it over, and the Bullets called timeout with 2:53 left. Gettysburg would get two good looks at the cage in the period, but Neff saved a deep blast from Smith coming out of the timeout and a runner from senior Jimmy Morris (Waccabuc, N.Y./John Jay) with 56 seconds left was off the mark.

Freshman defenseman Dash Mindel (Larkspur, Calif./Branson School) scooped up a ground ball on the opening face-off of the second overtime, setting up Gettysburg’s game-winner.

The Bullets out-shot the Bears 50-35 for the game and held a 33-31 edge in ground balls. The two sides split their 24 face-offs.

Notes: Gettysburg was playing its first double-overtime game since its 8-7 win over Swarthmore College on March 31, 2012…It was also the Bullets’ first NCAA tournament game to reach OT since an 11-10 loss to Roanoke College in the second round of the 2010 tournament, and the team’s first NCAA playoff game to reach double-OT since an 11-10 loss at Salisbury University in the 2008 semifinals…In Gettysburg’s only other NCAA playoff game that was decided in double overtime, the Bullets defeated Salisbury 10-9 in the 1997 quarterfinals.

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