May 9, 2009

Bullet Proof: Gettysburg Blasts into Division III Quarterfinals

by Andy Krauss | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

Junior attackman Josh Reichert scored a career-high five goals on five shots to lead Gettysburg to a 15-10 win over Washington & Lee in an NCAA Division III men's lacrosse tournament second-round game Saturday.

© Kevin P. Tucker

GETTYSBURG, Pa. -- Well over a century ago, the land that Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium currently stands on was the sight of flying bullets shot between two armies of a country divided.  

On Saturday, the Gettysburg field was once again the sight of flying Bullets.

In this battle, a second-round NCAA Division III men's lacrosse tournament game, fifth-ranked Gettysburg (14-3) defeated another school with historical connotations, sixth-ranked Washington and Lee (16-4), in an old-fashioned shootout, 15-10.

After the teams split four goals in game's first four minutes, Gettysburg settled in and controlled the tempo for the remainder of the first half.  The Bullets carried a 9-4 lead into halftime.

That control started on faceoffs, where the Bullets won 10 of 15 faceoffs, five of six in the second quarter. Senior Tim Stanton won nine of those faceoffs, primarily against W&L's senior Seldon Clarke, owner of a .619 winning percentage prior to the game.

"Coming into this game, my stats weren't too good (.492)," said Stanton. "I wanted to keep the defense from playing too many minutes and give our offense more possessions. Faceoffs can really dictate momentum."

"We wanted to possess the ball and take quality shots," said head coach Hank Janczyk. "We did that and we won faceoffs, playing a little make it, take it. That was the key to victory."

Junior attackman Josh Reichert scored four of his career-high five goals in the first half for the Bullets on just five shots, each subsequently from a more difficult angle.

The Bullets also picked up 15 first half ground balls to W&L's seven.

The Generals mounted a furious third quarter comeback, however, outscoring the Bullets 5-1 in the first 14:34 of the quarter to cut Gerttysburg's lead to 10-9.

That run was triggered by senior midfielder Tim Skeen, who scored two goals and added an assist in the period.

"In the third quarter, we made some adjustments on faceoffs, putting two poles on the wings, and scored some goals while picking up ground balls. You gotta give our guys credit. They battled the whole game," said W&L head coach Gene McCabe.

Gettysburg junior attackman Joe Brody scored a goal with just 4.6 seconds left in the third quarter to build the lead up to two and set the scene for the final stanza.

"That was a huge goal," added Janczyk.  "Josh had a big ground ball right before that.  It's really unbelievable the little things that make so much of a difference."

In the fourth quarter, the Bullets re-established control of the game, outshooting the Generals 9-5 and outscoring them, 4-1 en route to the five-goal victory.

The win was Gettysburg's sixth straight second-round victory. W&L, owner of a 6-5 overtime win over FDU-Florham on Wednesday, made its first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2004.

Gettysburg moves on to a quarterfinal matchup with Denison on Wednesday, most likely at home.  The Big Red won at Roanoke, 14-7, in Saturday's second-round game.

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