Widener's First Half Downs Dutchmen

ANNVILLE, Pa. - In a game both teams needed to win to clinch a playoff berth, Widener used eight unanswered goals in the first half as a springboard to a 16-10 Commonwealth Conference win over Lebanon Valley.

In what would be the final men's lacrosse game played on grass at Arnold Field, the Pride (6-7, 4-1 CC) took a big first-half lead, then fended off a huge Dutchman comeback that cut it to a one-goal game in the third quarter.

Lebanon Valley (9-4, 3-3 CC) now needs help to get into the postseason. The first CC team to be done with league play, LVC sits in third place, and its fate depends on what Lycoming, Messiah, and Elizabethtown do, with multiple possible outcomes. Dutchmen fans will especially want Messiah to lose its final two games (vs. Lycoming and Albright), with the picture becoming much clearer after Wednesday's Lycoming-Messiah game.

Malik Pedroso continued his hot play, scoring three goals with an assist, while Matt Roupe and Jordan Mayr also notched two goals. Scott Sutton went 18 for 28 on face-offs.

Josh Fox led Widener with five goals and an assist, while Johnny Casey and Ryan Shewell each had a hat trick.

LVC actually outshot Widener 44-36 and controlled the face-off, but the Pride rode a huge 18-save game by Mac Nestler to earn the win.

The Dutchmen had an electric start in front of a big home crowd, opening with Matt Roupe's strike less than two minutes in, then going up 2-0 on a superb clear-and-shoot effort by Ryan Lanigan at the 10:00 mark.

But LVC would be held scoreless for nearly 20 minutes after that as Widener ripped off eight unanswered goals, with Ryan Leonard ending the run at 6:26 of the second on the way to a 9-4 hole at halftime.

The Dutchmen turned this around in the third quarter, outscoring Widener 5-1 to start on goals by Mayr, Ian Schmid, Pedroso (2), and Roupe to cut the lead to a goal at 10-9.

As soon the opportunity showed itself, Widener shut the door with a man-up Fox goal and two more strikes by Ryan Eidenshink and Fox to end the quarter. Mayr scored man-up to start the fourth, but that would be LVC's final goal as they were held scoreless for the final 14:31 of the game.

Mike Moll made nine saves in the loss for LVC. Senior Ethan Hilberg got a fourth-quarter nod on his Senior Day, as he and midfielder CJ Adams were honored before the game.

LVC will finish the regular season next Saturday against RPI in a neutral-site game at Madison High School in Madison, N.J.


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