Scranton Upends Goucher to Win Landmark Crown

TOWSON, Md. Instead of Goucher winning back-to-back titles, Scranton became the fourth team to capture the Landmark Conference championship in men's lacrosse in the conference's four-year history when the Royals defeated the Gophers, 12-8, this afternoon. A crowd of 469 was on hand in Gopher Stadium for the finals of the 2011 Landmark Conference postseason tournament.

Unassisted goals by Kyle Boncaro and Pierce Ingram provided the Gophers (11-6) with early 1-0 and 2-1 advantages, but Scranton (9-7) went ahead to stay on the first of Daniel Slade's five goals with 3:00 remaining in the first quarter. The Royals added an extra-man goal by Robert Pantages with 1:26 showing on the clock and owned a 4-2 lead after 15 minutes.

Scranton was up 6-2 in the second quarter before John Curry scored for Goucher with 2:20 remaining before halftime. Curry also opened the scoring in the second half, sticking an unassisted goal 3:45 into the third period to reduce the Gophers' deficit to 6-4.

Slade accounted for three of the goals during a run of four consecutive goals by the Royals that spanned the third and fourth quarters and provided the visitors with an 11-5 lead with only 6:49 left to play. The Gophers outscored Scranton, 4-1, including goals by Jackson Lane and Rory Averett just :28 apart, but 12-8 was as close as they could get.

In taking a 4-3 advantage in the all-time series between the two schools, the Royals outshot the Gophers, 35-34. Other than Slade, the only other Scranton player with more than one goal was Taylor Nelson, who finished with two goals and a pair of assists.

Goucher's eight goals were spread out among seven different players, with only Curry scoring more than one time. Matt Lynch had the only two assists for the Gophers.

Both starting goalkeepers played all 60 minutes and reached double figures in saves. For Scranton, Ben Worthington turned away 11 shots in the second half to bring his total for the game to 17 saves; for Goucher, Connor Mishaw made 13 saves.

* * * *

TOWSON, Md.-Three weeks ago, The University of Scranton was close to sitting out the Landmark Conference tournament for the second straight year. Boy, did things turn around quickly.

The Royals beat the conference's top two teams on consecutive weekends-one at home in overtime and the other on the road-and opened tournament play Wednesday afternoon with a 12-9 victory over Catholic University at Fitzpatrick Field.

Scranton culminated its late-season surge Saturday afternoon by defeating defending champion Goucher College, 12-8, to claim its first-ever Landmark title and advance to the NCAA Division III championships for the first time in the program's 25-year history. It is also Scranton's second conference title and first since winning the Hudson League championship in 1995 in its previous affiliation with the Middle Atlantic States Collegiate Athletic Corporation.

The unlikely hero turned out to be junior attacker Daniel Slade (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East), who scored a career-high five goals and finished with an assist as Scranton won its fourth straight game to improve to 9-7.

The Royals also received two goals and two assists from sophomore attacker Taylor Nelson (Chester Springs, Pa./Downingtown East), a goal and an assist apiece from senior midfielder Keenan Dowd (Binghamton, N.Y./Seton Catholic) and senior attacker Sean Coleman (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic), and a goal each from junior midfielder Mike Rufo (Broomall, Pa./Haverford School), junior attacker Kevin Brier (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West), and senior attacker Robert Pantages (Roseland, N.J./West Essex).

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