By Joshua J. Darling, Sports Information Director
LAGRANGE, Ga. – In a game where no lead appeared safe and the teams combined for more than 40 goals, LaGrange (7-6, 3-2 USA South) stepped up and held on to a narrow 21-20 victory over Methodist (3-8, 1-3 USA South) in the final seconds of an NCAA Division III men's lacrosse game on Saturday, April 8.
It would be a back-and-forth affair from the very beginning as the clubs traded the first four goals over a span of 8:22. Freshman attackman Luke Young (Acworth, Ga.) got the Panthers on the board at 13:26 while the Monarchs' Hunter Vaughan tallied a man-up goal to even it less than a minute and a half later. Sophomore attackmen Ryan Comeau (Canton, Ga.) answered right back with a goal at 9:20 only to see Vaughan tied it up at 2-2 with 6:38 on the clock.
Methodist's Nate Moore would snap that stretch of alternating goals with one at 5:21 but LaGrange answered with a barrage of three straight over the next 3:23. Sophomore attackman Andrew Brown (Metairie, La.) hit the back of the net just under the three-minute mark and senior midfielder Jack Bryan (Carrollton, Ga.) followed 36 seconds later. Young then capped that run with his second of the frame for a 5-3 lead.
Still standing after that onslaught, the Monarchs delivered one of their own as RJ Breeden notched back-to-back goals to close the period, the last off a pass from Jesse Leyble, and Vaughan found Jacob Burnette 28 seconds into the second quarter to pull ahead 6-5.
It would continue to be a game of bursts as Young connected at 13:23 and junior attackman Michael Poteete (Evans, Ga.) found junior long stick midfielder Ben Bryan (Carrollton, Ga.) less than a minute later to retake the lead at 7-6. Brown would then make his presence felt again, driving one home with 11:12 showing on the clock and notched the assist on a goal by Comeau less than a minute and a half later to stretch the lead to three.
Methodist then quelled that run as Cy Horner connected with Vaughan just under the 10-minute mark and the latter would add a second straight 34 seconds later to pull to within one. Young would respond in just 19 seconds only to see the Monarchs' Ryan Kavounis hit the back of the net at 8:38. Sophomore midfielder Holden Samuels (Woodstock, Ga.) would then be the beneficiary of an on-point pass from Brown that he then buried between the pipes to make it 11-9 with just under six minutes on the clock.
That lead would not last, however, as Kavounis hit less than a minute later and Vaughan notched back-to-back tallies, the last of the man-up variety at 3:41, for a 12-11 advantage. From there it would return to being a back-and-forth affair with Young finding Ben Bryan to tie it 31 seconds later and Breeden connecting at 2:28 and then with 11 seconds remaining with Comeau burying one in between at the 51-second mark. That frenzy would leave Methodist holding a narrow 14-13 lead at the break.
The Panthers decided it would not stay that way long, however, as they came out of the locker room on fire. They would dominate the third, scoring five straight to flip the script and pull back ahead 18-14 with 35 seconds showing. The first part of that particular barrage would see Young connect at 13:35, Brown dish to Comeau three and a half minutes later and Poteete go from facilitator to being on the scoring side of things at 6:17. Young then found Brown at 2:34 and Ben Bryan took it himself with just over a minute and a half left.
The Monarchs wouldn't get blanked in the frame as Jake Bandler found the back of the net with 27 seconds left in the period but that would not stem the tide. Ben Bryan made it two in a row as he hit again, this time 2:10 into the fourth, and Poteete drilled home another at 11:06 to stretch to a 20-15 advantage. MU responded with Horner finding Vaughan again just under two minutes later before Ben Bryan got that one back at 8:19 to keep it a five goal margin, 21-16.
The Monarchs would make one last push, however, as Breeden took matters into his own hands. He found the back of the net at 5:25, dished to Jacob Burnette for a man-up goal less than a minute later and then buried another of his own to close to 21-19 with 3:24 to play. MU would continue to apply pressure with a faceoff win and three shots over the next nearly three minutes before Kavounis broke through to cut it to one with 28 seconds left.
They would then give themselves the opportunity to tie it as Tyler Bennett took the faceoff, only to see an unforced turnover squelch that chance as LaGrange held on for the thrilling 21-20 victory.
Vaughan delivered seven goals and an assist to lead Methodist while Breeden wasn't far behind at six goals, an assist and a pair of groundballs. Kavounis added three scores and three groundballs and Burnette would notch a pair of goals. Bennett played a key role in setting up those opportunities as he went 25-of-39 at the center "X" and collected 19 groundballs while Matthew Liquori played the first 45 minutes in goal, allowing 19 goals against eight saves to fall to 0-1.
Offense would not be in short supply and Young would anchor the Panthers' effort with five goals and two assists along with two groundballs and a pair of caused turnovers. Ben Bryan drilled home five with a game-high seven groundballs and Brown registered three scores, three assists, three groundballs and two caused turnovers. Comeau would do it on both sides of the ball with four goals, six groundballs and a caused turnover and Poteete finished with a pair of scores and an assist.
Senior goalkeeper Isaac Bohrer (Fayetteville, Ga.) played the first 30 minutes in net, making 11 saves against 14 goals while senior goalkeeper Joshua Hargrove (Norcross, Ga.) finished things off with just six goals allowed 10 goals in the final 30 minutes to move to 2-0.
LaGrange return to action next week as they host Warren Wilson on Saturday, April 15. Faceoff is set for 3:30 p.m.