Haverford Upsets #2 Gettysburg to Win Centennial Title

GETTYSBURG, Pa. Max Hjelm posted four goals and one assist while Joe Banno made 15 saves as Haverford College got out to a quick start and won its first-ever Centennial Conference men's lacrosse title, topping second-ranked and top-seeded Gettysburg 11-8 at a hot and muggy Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium Sunday afternoon.

The third-seeded Fords (11-5) receive the conference's automatic bid in the NCAA Division III Tournament while Gettysburg (15-2) will likely gain an at-large berth. Pairings will be announced next Sunday.

Haverford, which opened the game on a 6-1 run, becomes just the third team to win a Centennial Conference men's lacrosse title, with Gettysburg leading the way with 13 and Washington (Md.) College owning three. The Bullets had won the previous six conference titles.

Junior Chris Cahill (Nashville, Tenn./Montgomery Bell Academy) tied a career-high with four goals to go with one assist for the Bullets while senior Kyle McGrath (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) notched one goal and a career-high four assists. Sophomore Pat Sartory (Ellicott City, Md./McDonogh School) added a pair of goals.

Zach Cohen had two goals and one assist for Haverford while Andrew Kim contributed two goals. Phillip Valliant added one goal and one assist.

The Fords, who were outshot 46-24, never trailed after scoring the game's first three goals. Hjelm converted a man-up tally 3:33 into the contest before Cohen and Valliant struck over the ensuing 4:49. Cahill put the Bullets on the scoreboard with 4:32 left, making it 3-1 at the end of the first quarter.

Haverford opened the second quarter with another 3-0 run over a 2:16 spurt as its lead ballooned to five. Hjelm's second and third goals were sandwiched around a Cohen tally as the Fords went up 6-1 with 8:44 left in the opening half.

The Bullets picked up their offense over the remainder of the period, outscoring Haverford 3-2 over the final 7:19 to make it an 8-4 game at the half. Cahill cashed in on an extra-man opportunity before Travis Gregory answered to restore the Fords four-goal advantage (7-3) with 5:08 on the clock.

Gettysburg appeared to have some momentum going its way when Sartory scored both of his goals over a 1:19 stretch, cutting the deficit to 7-4 with 2:10 showing. However, Brian Fleishhacker just beat the horn when he scored with 1.7 seconds remaining for Haverford.

Hjelm and Kim posted back-to-back goals midway through the third quarter, giving Haverford their third 3-0 run of the day as the Fords opened up their largest lead (10-4) of the game. The Bullets were unable to find the net until the 3:32 mark of the third quarter, when Cahill struck for the third time to make it 10-5 heading into the final period.

The Bullets had plenty of scoring opportunities in the fourth quarter, when it outshot Haverford 8-2 over the opening 7:26 and 20-4 overall. However, Banno turned aside three shots during the opening stretch before McGrath broke through with 7:04 left. Cahill scored on another EMO with 5:03 to go, pulling Gettysburg to within 10-7. Gettysburg won the ensuing face-off and fired off two more shots, but they were both stopped by Banno.

Haverford gained possession with 4:01 on the clock, and with 2:56 left, Kim sent home an empty-netter to make it 11-7 with 2:56 remaining. Senior Josh Reichert (Englewood, Colo./Kent School) kept the Bullets hanging when he scored with 1:45 showing, but Gettysburg's final three shots were off the mark.

Sophomore John LeClerc (Acton, Mass./Tilton School [N.H.]) made four saves for the Bullets while junior long-stick midfielder Chris Fumai (Huntington, N.Y./St. Anthony's) picked up six ground balls. Senior Timothy Kurpis (Yorktown, N.Y./Yorktown) caused three turnovers, and freshman Nick Avedisian (Laytonsville, Md./Bullis School) was 9 for 11 on face-offs.

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