SELINSGROVE, Pa. – The Susquehanna men’s lacrosse team won its second-straight Landmark Conference Championship on Saturday afternoon, defeating Goucher 9-6, the program’s first-ever victory over the Gophers.
The No. 1 seed Crusaders (11-7) held a 3-1 lead at intermission and held off a third-period rally by the No. 3 seed Gophers (7-8) to win the league title for the second time—the first men’s lacrosse repeat champion in Landmark history.
Junior goalkeeper Jared Knowlton (North Salem, N.Y. / Kent School) tallied 15 saves on 21 shots and was named the playoff MVP after recording 21 saves during the tournament.
Sophomore Nick Reardon (West Deptford, N.J. / West Deptford) led all players with six points, including a career-high four goals. The 2014 Landmark Player of the Year, Austen Lein (New Vernon, N.J. / Madison), recorded five points and registered a hat trick.
SU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Reardon scored on a feed from Nick Citron (Chatham, N.J. / Chatham) at the midway point of the first quarter, but the Gophers responded with the equalizer less than two minutes later to knot the contest at 1-1.
Before the first period ended, Lein tallied his first goal of the day, an unassisted score with only three ticks left. The second quarter was scoreless before Lein ended the drought with goal with a little over three minutes remaining in the first half and the Crusaders claimed a 3-1 halftime lead.
Sophomore Jake Calder (Lutherville, Md. / Dulaney) started the second-half scoring for SU with an unassisted goal at 13:24 in the third for a 4-1 Crusader lead.
However, Goucher answered with three-straight goals within a two-minute span to knot the game at 4-4 with 11:26 to go in the period. After a Reardon score at 10:32, the Gophers again tied the contest at 5-5 with an unassisted goal with 7:10 remaining in the third.
The Orange & Maroon closed out the third quarter with two goals in over a 1:56 span as Lein and Greg Rabiecki (Maplewood, N.J. / St. Peter’s Prep) found the back of the net to give SU a 7-5 edge entering the final quarter.
In the fourth, Reardon netted consecutive goals to give the Crusaders a 9-5 cushion. A Goucher goal with a little over a minute to play cut the lead to 9-6 but SU held on to claim the championship and the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The 2014 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Division III Selection Show will be held on Sunday, May 4 at 10 p.m.