Men's Lacrosse Season Ends With Close 15-14 Loss to Westminster in ECAC Semifinals

Men's Lacrosse Season Ends With Close 15-14 Loss to Westminster in ECAC Semifinals

Men's Lacrosse Season Ends With Close 15-14 Loss to Westminster in ECAC Semifinals

Frostburg, Md.
 - Ryan Shorts is Westminster College's leading scorer and for most of Saturday's Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship presented by eTeamSponsor semifinal, he was kept in check by the Pfeiffer University Falcons.

However, Shorts - a three-time all-conference selection - showed up big when the Titans needed him most, netting two goals in the final 3:47 to help lift Westminster to a 15-14 win over Pfeiffer in a back-and-forth slugfest of a semifinal at Bobcat Stadium.

Westminster will now face Frostburg State (11-8) in the championship match on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Frostburg State advanced to the championship match by beating Neumann, 12-6, earlier Saturday in the other semifinal.

Westminster (10-7) got the scoring going just over three minutes into the match, as Shorts found the back of the net to give the Titans a 1-0 lead. Pfeiffer (8-8) responded by tying the match on a goal by Treven King with 8:24 to go in the first quarter. Jacob Leone gave the Falcons a 2-1 lead with a goal off an assist by Jared Nelson, but Dante Serra tied the match at 2 for the Titans and the teams finished the first 15 minutes tied at 2.

John Allen's goal on a pass from Nelson put Pfeiffer back ahead, 3-2, only 1:08 into the second quarter and the teams alternated the next three goals before Pfeiffer got scores from Luke Cox and Allen to take a 6-4 lead with 7:06 to go before halftime. Serra got his third goal of the first half to get Westminster back to within 6-5 with 3:49 left in the second quarter, but following a Pfeiffer timeout, King sent home his second goal of the match to give the Falcons a 7-5 halftime lead.

The first half was fairly even statistically, with Pfeiffer outshooting Westminster, 24-17 (but Westminster leading 7-6 in shots on goal), and the Titans winning 9-of-13 faceoffs and scooping up 14 ground balls to the Falcons' 12. However, one telling stat was that the Falcons had four extra-man opportunities in the opening two quarters, but converted on just one of them.

Westminster's Joe Rosa scored 52 seconds into the third quarter to pull the Titans back to within 7-6 and less than two minutes later, Serra found Rosa, who scored again to tie the match at 7 with 12:13 to go in the period. Rosa scored twice more in the next 2:13 to make it four goals in the opening five minutes of the period and suddenly Westminster - which has won seven of its last eight matches - was up 9-7 over the Falcons.

King stopped Rosa's hot streak with a goal with 8:17 remaining to get Pfeiffer back within 9-8 and 1:31 later the score was re-tied at 9 after Allen scored off an assist from Nelson. Allen scored again (this time from Cox) and just as quickly as Pfeiffer had lost its lead, the Falcons were back in front, 10-9, with 4:30 showing on the clock. Allen and Nelson teamed again as the Falcons made it four straight goals, opening up an 11-9 advantage with four goals in a span of 4:56.

Then it was Westminster's turn to take its best shot and Rosa netted his fifth goal of the quarter with 2:27 to pull the Titans back to within 11-10, but 56 seconds later, Nelson responded for Pfeiffer and the Falcons were back up 12-10, which was the score as the match headed to the fourth quarter.

Early in the final period, Adrian Culp scored off a pass from Rosa and the Titans were within 12-11 with 12:51 to go. The Titans then capitalized on an extra-man opportunity, getting a goal from Shane Fisher (off a pass from Culp) to tie the match again at 12 with 10:32 remaining.

However, Pfeiffer landed the next blow, as just more than a minute later, Allen scored off a Nelson assist to give Pfeiffer the 13-12 lead. Westminster - making a postseason appearance for the first time in program history - replied via a Chris Slater goal (from Culp) and the match was tied at 13 with 7:38 remaining. The stage was set for a dramatic finish and neither team disappointed.

Shorts, Westminster's leading scorer in the regular season, got his second goal of the match to give Westminster the lead, 14-13, with 3:57 to go and Pfeiffer was called for a cross-checking penalty, giving the Titans an extra-man opportunity. However, Westminster was unable to convert, giving Pfeiffer new life. The Falcons kept firing shots and hit the post twice trying to tie the match, but after a turnover, it was Shorts who scored again with 41 seconds to go to put Westminster up, 15-13.

Pfeiffer didn't go quietly, though. Nelson got another goal 15 seconds later and the Falcons were within 15-14 with 26 seconds left. Pfeiffer had a chance to tie the match and force overtime, but a turnover ended the match and sent Westminster through to the championship match on Sunday.