COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College men's lacrosse team gave No. 5 Gettysburg everything it could handle and then some in Saturday's Centennial Conference opener, but two fourth-quarter goals gave the Bullets just enough separation to break free from the Bears' clutches for an 8-7 triumph.
Freshman Hakan Atillasoy had three goals for his second straight hat trick, including the game-tying tally with 2:25 remaining in the third quarter. Tommy Heller put Gettysburg back on top for good early in the fourth and the Orange and Blue added a man-up marker midway through the frame to hang on and remain unbeaten in 19 all-time matchups with Ursinus.
Senior Gerard Brown dished out a season-best three assists for the Bears (1-6, 0-1), who were bidding for their first win over a top-5 program and nearly got it behind a dynamic defensive effort and some opportunistic offense.
Things looked bleak when Gettysburg (8-1, 1-0) opened up a 3-0 advantage on Jack Fletcher's goal 18 seconds into the second quarter. McClure rescued some momentum by finishing off a feed from Brown following a beautiful tic-tac-toe sequence, but the Bullets answered right back to make it 4-1 with 11:13 to play before the half.
Freshman Rei Lopez – seeing his first extended action after classmate Aiden Baltz left the game with an injury – won the ensuing faceoff and fed ahead to junior Peter DeSimone, who found Atillasoy at the right post for a quick-strike goal just eight seconds later.
Given time to fire, freshman Joe Mercurio ripped a top-shelf rocket past Gettysburg All-American Tim Brady to cut it to 4-3 at the 7:11 mark, and Gettysburg went into half ahead 5-3 after Heller's tally exactly three minutes later.
The Bears controlled the third-quarter proceedings, spurred by Lopez winning four of five faceoffs. McClure snuck a close-range shot past Brady at the left post before Atillasoy drilled a low-to-high shot into the top right corner to make it 5-all with 11:44 left in the third.
Brian Kolen put Gettysburg ahead with 2:47 showing, but Atillasoy found himself in the right place at the right time for an immediate equalizer. An errant Ursinus pass bounced ahead toward the Gettysburg goal, and Atillasoy picked it up in stride and finished in close to bring on another tie just 22 ticks later.
After Heller's go-ahead goal, Kolen took advantage of a slashing penalty to pump in a man-up insurance tally with 7:16 remaining. The Bears had several possessions down the stretch, but were unable to beat Brady until DeSimone sent a long bouncer into the cage with 3.5 seconds left. Lopez won the faceoff, but had no time to get off a last-ditch shot.
Lopez was sensational at the "X," winning 11 of his 14 faceoffs and collecting six ground balls to give the Bears a shot of life. Sophomore Evan Scott caused two turnovers to lead a spirited defensive effort in front of Kirk, who made four saves in three different quarters to wind up with a season-best 13.
Kolen produced three goals, with Heller adding two goals and three assists for Gettysburg. The Bullets had a slim 36-33 edge in shots, but were a perfect 16-for-16 on clears and had a 17-11 advantage in turnovers.
After converting only two extra-man opportunities through the season's first six games, the Bears were 2-for-4 on the man-up on Saturday.
The Bears remain at home to continue CC play against Washington College under the lights on Wednesday.