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F&M Comes Back to Oust Blue Jays From NCAA Tourney

F&M Comes Back to Oust Blue Jays From NCAA Tourney

Courtesy of Elizabethtown Athletic Communications

LANCASTER, Pa. -- Making its first NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship appearance, Elizabethtown led into the fourth quarter before 10th-ranked Franklin & Marshall scored four in a row to win Wednesday's Second Round game at Tylus Field, 11-8.

Three separate times the Blue Jays held a two-goal lead and even turned a one-goal deficit into an 8-7 lead when Dan Bednarik and Joe Clark (man-up) scored the only goals of the third quarter.

Elizabethtown, in the tournament on its first-ever Landmark Championship, held the potent Diplomats without a goal for more than 21 minutes spanning the entire third and start of the fourth. This after they blanked Catholic over the final 17:52 of the conference championship game.

Franklin & Marshall seemed to find another gear in the final nine minutes, however, and the Blue Jays (14-4), playing without the services of injured Jason Clough (20 goals, 9 assists) and Cody Larkin (18 goals, 9 assists), who left early in Wednesday's contest, could not find an answer.

Jarrett Donaghy tied the game at eight with an unassisted goal at 9:05, before Harry Rice gave the Dips the lead for good, 9-8, with 6:56 to go. F&M got its transition game going off a few Blue Jay turnovers and Rice's goal started a run of three for the hosts in a mere 1:36 that left E-town in a three-goal hole with 5:20 to play.

Early on the Blue Jays looked intent to avenge an 11-10 loss to F&M on Wolf Field back on March 18 and win record the program's first NCAA tournament victory.

Sean Rogers launched F&M in front 19 seconds in on an unassisted goal, but the next three belonged to the Blue Jays. Mike Specht reached the 30-goal mark, blasting a shot by Diplomats' (16-2) goalie Scott Hatch at 13:58, as Clark assisted.

Nick Specht found Phil Kyger at 10:46 and Mike Specht netted his second at 5:48 of the first. Franklin & Marshall was able to tie it up with 44 seconds left on the first of three goals from Mike Rama, but Nick Specht quickly gave E-town's the lead back, scoring with 10.2 seconds remaining.

Elizabethtown went up 6-4 on goals by Jeremy Klipple and Kyger in the second, but a 3-0 run to end the half gave F&M a 7-6 halftime lead.

Franklin & Marshall, which moves on to face No. 9 Cabrini in the Third Round, racked up 37 shots to E-town's 29 and was successful on 13 of 15 clears.

The Blue Jays got 10 saves from freshman goalie Tom Mahoney. Mahoney had 17 the last time the teams met --his first career start-- and finished the season with a 10-2 record and 117 saves.

Face-offs were nearly even, with a 13-10 edge going to the home team. Senior Matt Rucci won 5 of 8 and freshman Kyle Pienik 5 of 14. Andrew Rose picked up 12 of F&M's 13 wins.

Sophomore defenseman Zac Knapp had a team-high four caused turnovers and Nick Specht filled the stat sheet with three points (1 goal, 2 assists), a team-high seven ground balls and two caused turnovers.

Clark, one of 14 seniors suiting up as Jays for the final time, had a goal and two assists of his own. The Hershey native concluded his legendary career ranked second in program history in career points (227) and goals (136), and third in career assists (91).

Kyger totaled two goals and Dan Bednarik one for an Elizabethtown team that tied a program record with 14 wins this season.