Semifinal Results from the MCLA National Championships

The Rams will face a familiar opponent on Saturday evening at Sirrine Stadium. Waiting for them on the other end of the bracket are the #2 Colorado Buffaloes, who advanced to the championship game via wins over Texas, Michigan State and a 5-4 semifinal win against #3 Arizona State. The Buffs and Rams have met twice in the 2013 season with CSU taking both contests. The first was a 9-3 triumph in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Showdown at Hughes Stadium and the second was a 9-6 win in the RMLC championship game just two weeks ago in Grand Junction, CO.

It's also the second time in history that the two teams have met in the MCLA championship game, with the Rams winning a thrilling 8-7 game over the Buffs in 2006.

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GREENVILLE, S.C. It took a third overtime for Westminster College to defeat St. John's (Minn.) 9-8 in the semifinals of the MCLA National Championships on Thursday afternoon at Sirrine Stadium.

"I just told them to get to the (cage) and keep shooting," assistant coach Brad Lavoie said. "It wasn't pretty but we will take it any way we can get it."

Brian Tyrrell sent the second-seeded Griffins (16-5) to the second championship game in school history as he scooped a loose ball into the net with 1:43 left in the third overtime session. The ball became free after an initial shot from Kyle Postler was turned away by St. John's (13-3) goalie Michael King. Tyrrell was moving away from the goal when he chipped a shot in the cage and sent the Griffins into a celebration.

"I was just in the right place at the right time," Tyrrell said after the game. "It could have been any one of us, but today it was me."

Early on it seemed as though Westminster was going to run away from the third-seeded Johnnies. The Griffins used a goal from Adam Marfice and two from Kyle Postler to lead 3-0 after the first quarter. Miles Armitage scored for SJU early in the second quarter, before Postler, Kevin Gee and Tyrrell scored three straight for the Griffins to give them a 6-1 advantage with 2:59 left in the half.

The game swung in favor of SJU when Michael Culshaw-Maurer scored with 1:27 left in the half. That goal sparked a string of seven straight goals by the Johnnies that put them ahead 8-6 with 9:03 to play in the fourth quarter. Collin Madsen started the Griffins rally when he scored with 4:37 to play to make it a one goal deficit.

As things continued to look bleak for the Griffins, Elias Fairman tied the game at 8-8 when he scored his only goal of the game with 40 seconds remaining in regulation. Westminster won the ensuing faceoff, but they couldn't get a final shot off before the game was sent into overtime.

Westminster goalie Chris Burckle came up with four saves in the first four-minute overtime to give his team a chance to win. The biggest save of the game came from Griffin defender Matt Lambourne. With Burckle out of the cage, SJU got a shot from 15-yards out on an empty cage before Lambourne stepped in front and kept the game even.

Both teams would get one shot on goal in the second overtime and both came up empty. The Griffins controlled the third extra period and forced King into two stops before Tyrrell's winner.

"Lacrosse is a game of momentum," Lambourne commented. "We had to rally together and play as a team today to get this one."

The Griffins took 48 shots in the game while allowing SJU to just 30 attempts. It was the Johnnies that were more efficient as they put 21 of those 30 shots on cage while the Griffins also had 21 on target. SJU won 14 of 23 faceoffs, including 13 of 17 following the first quarter. They also finished with a 26-24 edge in ground balls.

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