COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The No. 17 Ursinus College men's lacrosse team survived a scare from visiting Swarthmore on Saturday, escaping with a 9-8 victory after sophomore goalkeeper Elliott Shevitz stoned the would-be tying goal at point-blank range in the closing seconds of a Centennial Conference barn-burner.
Junior Gerard Brown's goal with 6:14 remaining proved the game-winner in a tug-of-war that featured six ties and two lead changes and ended with the Bears (7-2, 2-1) extending their home winning streak to 15. Like many during that stretch, this one came with plenty of anxious moments.
Just as it did in Wednesday's 10-8 victory at Washington College, Ursinus found itself trailing at the half, this time by a 5-4 margin after junior Lou Harrison sent a bouncer past Swarthmore goalie Cole Fox on an extra-man opportunity with 1:05 to play in the second quarter.
That was part of a three-goal run spanning intermission, which continued with a pair of quick strikes early in the third. Junior Ian Desenberg snuck around the cage and scored with a low shot at the left post to knot the contest at 5, and just over a minute later freshman Bobby McClure handed the home side a lead with another highlight-reel finish. The rookie took a feed from freshman Regan Ketchum by the right post, and in one motion turned over his right shoulder and shoveled the ball into the back of the net to make it 6-5 with 12:31 showing on the clock.
Cam Marsh equalized with 8:41 left in the period, sending the teams into the final frame locked in a tie.
The Bears put their quick-strike attack on full display to regain the lead, going back in front 7-6 on McClure's rising shot from the left wing into the top left side of the net. Forty-nine ticks later, Desenberg finished a feed from Brown behind the net to expand the edge to 8-6 with 12:21 to go.
Nathaniel Johns tallied at the 11-minute mark to cut the Garnet deficit to one, and Marsh's fourth goal leveled the spread one last time with 8:25 left. Brown then put Ursinus in front for good with an impressive individual effort, finishing through contact with a stick up around his neck at the 6:14 mark.
The Bears turned it over with just over two minutes left, giving the Garnet one last chance to tie. Swarthmore misfired on a pair of shots before calling timeout with 33.1 seconds left, setting up a final play. The design got the shot the Garnet wanted, as Zander Levitz picked out Marsh right in front of the crease. But Shevitz rose to the occasion, snaring the quick effort from in close to preserve a wild victory.
McClure finished with three goals for his third hat trick, while Harrison had two goals and an assist. Desenberg tallied twice, sophomore Peter DeSimone posted a goal and his first two assists of the season, and Ketchum contributed a pair of helpers to the cause. The Bears converted on both of their man-up chances.
With an assist, Brown passed Mark Stratton '15 for sole possession of second place in program history with 69.
Swarthmore owned small advantages in shots (32-28), ground balls (28-25), and faceoffs (11-10). Johns finished with two goals and an assist, and Fox made eight saves.
Senior Steve Palo scooped up six ground balls to lead the Bears, and freshman Nolan Sachs had four. Junior Connor Ream registered three ground balls and a caused turnover, while senior Corey Kelly caused a pair of Swarthmore's 14 miscues.
Shevitz had 10 saves, none bigger than his incredible last-second stop.
Ursinus has defeated Swarthmore four straight times, and is 7-1 at home against the Garnet.
The Bears are back home next Saturday, April 8, when McDaniel comes to Collegeville for a 12:00 p.m. contest.
The Bears came away with a 9-8 Centennial Conference victory