Men’s lax falls to Ursinus

A late rally almost gave men’s lacrosse another dramatic, come-from-behind victory on Saturday. This time, however, Swarthmore came up short in an 8-6 road loss to Ursinus that opened conference play for both teams.

After a scoreless opening period, Swarthmore (3-3, 0-1 in conference play) and Ursinus (5-1, 1-0 in conference) traded goals for the first part of the second period, with midfielder Wes Marcik ‘13 and attacker Jonathan Molloy ’14 posting early scores for the Garnet. By halftime, however, the Bears had pulled ahead to a 4-2 lead off two late goals by Mark Stratton in the final four minutes of the second period.

In third period, Ursinus capitalized on the momentum from their first-half lead, scoring three more goals in the third period to stretch their lead to 7-3. After attacker Brendan Conway ’14 opened the second half with a goal to cut the deficit to one, the Bears scored two goals in less than two minutes from Steve Smyrl and Mark Stratton. Dave Kraus scored his second goal of the game near the end of the third period to put the Bears up by four.

In the fourth period, after another goal by Smyrl made it 8-3 in favor of Ursinus, the Garnet mounted a comeback attempt. Conway scored his second goal of the game off an Ian Lukaszewicz ‘15 assist. In the final minutes of the game, with Ursinus still leading by four, Zach Belden ‘12 and John Bukawyn ’12 scored to make the deficit 8-6 with 2:30 left to play.

“We started riding harder, and getting more ground balls,” Lukaszewicz said of Swarthmore’s fourth-quarter play. “Once we started winning the ground-ball battle, things got better.”

As the clock ran down, Bukawyn, Belden and Max Hubbard ’12 were all able to get shots off, but Ursinus goalkeeper TJ Magnani was able to make all three saves to stop the Garnet’s comeback and ice the game for Ursinus.

After the loss, players focused on missed opportunities that could have changed the outcome of the game.

“[Magnani] made some good saves at the very end, but I think there were some shots we had earlier that could have easily been goals if they had been a little more accurate,” Marcik said.

The loss marks the fifth straight year that Swarthmore has fallen to Ursinus. The Garnet’s last victory over their conference rival came on March 21st, 2007, when they defeated the Bears 6-5 at home.

At goalkeeper, Michael Brockway ’12 made eight saves for the Garnet, while Magnani stopped 17. For Swarthmore, Lukaszewicz had two assists while Hubbard, Bukawyn and Daniel Kowalshyn ’14 each added one.

“I think that if we can play every quarter like we did in the fourth quarter against Ursinus, we will be right where we need to be to win those close games,” Conway said.

On Tuesday, the Garnet took on Muhlenberg at home in their second straight conference match-up.

The team resumes play this Saturday with a home game against Richard Nixon’s alma mater, Whittier College. Start time is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

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