Eastern Secures MAC Championship in OT over Widener

Johnson then tied the game near the end of extra-man opportunity. After a shot went awry and Widener secured possession, he intercepted a wayward outlet pass and sprinted right to goal for his 11th tally of the year.

"Ron can make plays," Wallace said of the junior from California, "we feel that any time he is out there, we have the best athlete on the field, and while he is invaluable on defense, his ability to turn unsettled stuff into goals sets him apart."

Farrar then became the first Eastern attackman of the day to score a goal as Ryan won yet another face-off and fed his fellow junior in transition for a 10-9 lead with nearly a full 14 minutes to play. The five Eastern goals all happened within four minutes of clock time.

The 13-time MAC Champion Pride were not about to let the game slip away so easily, and Bassani leveled the score on a tip-in from the edge of the crease from Mark Kane. The officials conferred briefly after the goal, but ruled correctly that the senior had stayed out of the crease until well after the goal was scored and then had been nudged in by an Eastern defender.

Widenergrabbed the lead on a Casey goal from Clemons with 7:41 on the clock. The Pride had three chances to push its edge to 12-10 over the next four minutes, but Benz came up with three huge stops to keep the deficit at one.

After the third clear, the Eagles were able to clear and get a timeout with two minutes to play. The Eagles looked to free their three attackmen, but theWidener defense held and a Farrar pass sailed high out toward midfield. Freshman defender Jordan Norris won the battle for the loose ball and pushed it back into the attacking half for Will Johnson with just over a minute to play.

The junior from New York had to stay in the box once he earned it, and he drove downhill with great pace. He was able to clear his hands just before the crease and tucked a shot into the top near corner to tie the contest with one minute remaining. Will Johnson's 3rd of the day and 21st of the year set up a thrilling final minute of play.

Ryan won control of the draw, but a well-timed check popped the ball free and Widener earned the final possession of overtime. After a late timeout, the Pride got a shot on the doorstep from Blakemore, but Benz again was there to turn away the effort and ultimately send the game to overtime.

Ryan won his final face-off of the day going backwards and the Eagles executed a deliberate clear to earn the box and set up a play with a time-out. Will Johnson narrowly missed the game-winner with a short-sided shot that grazed the outside of the pipe on its way out of bounds. Farrar, who had backed up the shot, brought the ball into play and after a quick move behind the cage dove to the front of the crease and bounced a shot just inside the far post for his 29th goal of the year.

Farrar's two goals and an assist move him into a tie for second on Eastern's single-season point list with, as all the Eastern players would want everyone to know, more lacrosse to play.

Eastern Men's Lacrosse will get to hang a pair of banners in the gym next fall as they are going to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. As the automatic qualifier from the MAC, they will learn the location of their next game tomorrow night on the NCAA Selection show. They become the fourth Eastern team this year to secure a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

"This was a great win for our program," Wallace, who was hired on an interim status in September said, "These guys have worked very hard to get here, and they stayed together throughout. I told them at halftime if we stayed together that we would win, and they did that. We are looking forward to what is to come."

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2012-05-05



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