OWINGS MILLS -- After playing from behind for more than three quarters, Stevenson scored six of the seven fourth-quarter goals to overtake Washington, 17-13, in the second round of the NCAA Division III men's lacrosse tournament May 11. The trio of senior midfielder Nick Rossi and sophomores Billy Burgoyne and Mark Pannenton resuscitated the No. 4 Mustangs, who will face off against RIT's men for the national championship Sunday in Philadelphia.
Rossi, Burgoyne and Pannenton collectively scored 12 goals against Washington, including the final five, to extend their season. Stevenson (21-2) ended the game on an 8-2 run to avoid the upset.
Pannenton's man-up goal from Parkside High School alum Chris Dashiell leveled the score at 13 with 6 minutes, 25 seconds remaining, and touched off the flurry of five unanswered goals to close out the game. Pannenton assisted Rossi on what proved to be the winning goal at 5:42 and scored the insurance goal 40 seconds later. Burgoyne and Pannenton added to the lead at 4:18 and 2:53, respectively.
Pannenton, who is in his first year at Stevenson after transferring from SUNY-Cortland, finished with six points on four goals and two assists. Burgoyne led all players with five goals, while Dashiell distributed four assists.
The Mustangs never led – and trailed by as many as three goals at 4-1 and 7-4 – until Rossi's third goal of the night. They dominated time of possession over the final 5:42 as junior Brent Hiken won the last four face-offs, which led to three additional goals. Hiken, who entered the game ranked third in Division III with a 72.8 face-off percentage, was 5-of-8 in the fourth quarter and won 15 of 24 face-offs overall.
Freshman Dimitri Pecunes also came up big in the fourth quarter, when he made six of his 10 saves. He starred last year for MIAA champion Calvert Hall.
Stevenson, which evened the series at 5-5, led 59-38 in shots and committed eight fewer turnovers than Washington.
Junior attackman J.D. Campbell scored three goals and senior attackman Bennett Cord assisted three times for the Shoremen, who finish 13-5 and improve upon last year's exit in the first round of the NCAAs.
Cord (33-31-64), who led No. 11 Washington in goals, assists and points, did not score for the first time all season.
Junior attackman Jim Cusick and senior attackman Matt Lewis each scored twice. Junior Ted DiSalvo was credited with 14 saves.
“The boys played so hard that it makes my eyes water with pride every time I think about it,” Washington third-year coach Jeff Shirk wrote in an email. “I am going to miss this group. The six seniors did everything I asked of them, and were truly great leaders. It is hard to believe how far they have come and how much they have achieved ... All I can say is that I am not ready for this season to be over. I am not ready for our seniors to graduate. I am not ready to not be preparing for another game.”
Washington dented the scoreboard first, sophomore attackman Stephen Luck on a man-up goal 3:27 in. Pannenton answered for Stevenson 26 seconds later.
Senior midfielder Patrick Coyle's unassisted goal in transition at 9:21, while the Shoremen were down a man, started a run of three unanswered goals. They led 5-2 at the end of the first period.
Stevenson scored the first two goals of the second period and five of seven to lock into a 7-7 draw with 38 seconds remaining in the half. But, Lewis converted a pass from Cord with all but 18 seconds elapsed in the half to restore Washington's lead at the break.
Shore sophomore midfielder Grant Hughes opened the third-quarter scoring with an unassisted goal to give the visitors a 9-7 lead. The teams then traded two goals each in a wild 67-second span as Peter Green scored off a Callum Robinson feed with 13:41 remaining, Campbell netted a goal just nine seconds later, Burgyone scored off a pass from Dashiell at 12:48, and then Campbell scored again 14 seconds later.
Tyler Reid and Rossi scored back to back for the hosts to tie it at 11 with four minutes remaining in the period. Cusick's solo run at 2:45 re-established the Shoremen's lead.
Michael Crowe found the next equalizer for the Mustangs, netting the first goal of the fourth quarter with 10:07 remaining to even the score at 12.
Freshman midfielder Sid Looney put the Shoremen back in front for the last time with exactly seven minutes to play.
Pannenton's man-up goal at 6:25 made it 13-all. Stevenson took its first lead 43 seconds later when Pannenton found Rossi on the far left wing. Pannenon (57-7-64) scored twice more and Dashiell (32-53-85) had another assist in the 5-0 game-clinching run.
Washington opened the NCAA tourney with a win May 8, fending off Colorado College, 10-7, after being outscored 4-2 in the second half. The Shoremen, who were up 5-1 at the end of the first quarter, took their biggest lead of the game at 8-2 with 8:43 remaining in the half after running off three goals in a span of 4:01. Their advantage at intermission was 8-3.
Colorado (13-5) scored the first three goals of the third period to close to 8-6 on sophomore midfielder Henri Halle's extra-man goal with 6:47 remaining in the period. But the Tigers were kept off the board for the next 16 minutes and change as Washington built its lead back to four goals.
Hughes closed out the third-period scoring off a look from senior long-stick midfielder Jonny Poe. Cord's extra-man goal 1:38 into the fourth period boosted Washington's advantage to 10-6.
Jack Kreitler ended the Tigers' scoring drought with exactly five minutes remaining. His unassisted goal was the last tally of the game.
As the scoring would suggest, it was a tale of two different halves; Washington led 29-10 in shots in the first half while Colorado had a 19-16 advantage in the second half.
Washington led 39-24 in ground balls, and won 17 of the 21 face-offs.
Sophomore midfielder Michael Trapp scooped up 12 ground balls and won 15 of 18 face-offs.
Cusick scored three goals and assisted on another for the winners. Junior midfielder Hunter Nowicki handed out four assists. Cord and freshman midfielder David McBrien each scored twice. DiSalvo made 11 saves.
Halle led the Tigers with three goals and two assists. Kreitler added two goals, while Eric Neumeyer had two assists. Freshman Chase Murphy was credited with 17 saves.
Senior attackman Steve Rijo, who came into the game leading the Tigers in goals (28) and points (45), was held to one goal on two shots.
NOTES: In last weekend's NCAA semifinals, No. 3 Rochester Institute of Technology (19-2) brought down No. 1 and previously unbeaten Cortland, 10-9, in overtime, while Stevenson defeated two-time defending national champion Salisbury, 12-6.
Stevenson eliminated Lynchburg in the quarterfinal round, 13-7, while Salisbury ousted No. 2 and previously undefeated Dickinson, 11-9.