Warriors Score Last Three to Edge Falcons in First Round

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. Down two goals with 43 seconds left in the third quarter, fourth-seeded Lycoming rallied with the final three goals of the game, abd junior Sean Reilly (Corning, N.Y./Corning-Painted Post West) ripped a shot into the upper right netting to secure the team's 8-7 win over Messiah in the first round of the Commonwealth tournament at the Shangraw Athletic Complex on a rain-soaked Tuesday, April 29.

The Warriors (7-9 overall) will move on to play top-seeded and third-ranked Stevenson on Thursday, May 1 at 7:00 p.m. at Stevenson's Mustang Stadium.

Messiah (7-9 overall) capped a 6-1 run with 43 seconds left in the half when Will Franken scored to make it 7-5. The Warriors won the ensuing faceoff, though, when the ball was kicked out of the neutral zone and into the stick of sophomore Mike Cooper (Riva, Md./Archbishop Spalding). The Warriors quickly set up an offense, with senior Matt McCaffer (Marcellus, N.Y./Marcellus) getting the ball behind the net before wrapping around and stuffing a shot in to make it 7-6 heading into the fourth quarter.

Messiah continued to dominate at the faceoff line, winning 16 of 19 in the game, early in the fourth, but couldn't get more than a shot that fell into junior goalkeeper Alex Wylly's (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) stick, even after a failed clear. The Warriors cleared the ball with 12:29 left and after three shots, Reilly lifted a pass from behind the net to a leaping McCaffer for the game-tying score with 10:21 left.

The Warriors won the ensuing faceoff, but a turnover gave the ball back to Messiah. Wylly made two saves on the ensuing possession. Each team turned the ball over twice from there as the clock ran under five minutes. Finally, a pass rolled in front of the net for Messiah's Nate Nester, who flicked his stick as if to shoot, but the ball snapped backwards thanks to the wet conditions. Junior Joe Marchetti (Cortland, Homer) won the ground ball out of the ensuing scrum and the Warriors cleared the ball at the 4:19 mark.

Less than 30 seconds later, Reilly received a pass 20 yards out on the left side without a defender on his hip. He charged 10 yards in and fired a high shot just inside the post, giving the Warriors the lead. The waning minutes weren't without drama, as Messiah took four shots, the last a bullet from Drew Pagenkopf with 1:01 left that forced Wylly to make a stop neck high on a blast of a shot from 10 yards out.

The Warriors cleared the ball, though, used a timeout and ran the remaining minute off the clock to secure the program's first tournament win since a 16-5 win over Drew in the Middle Atlantic first round in 2005.

The Warriors started the game hot, taking a 2-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to goals from McCaffer and Cooper. After Messiah got on the board with 13:51 left in the second quarter, the Warriors continued to take advantage on offense, with McCaffer and sophomore Lee Pappas (New Windsor, Md./Glenelg Country School) finding the back of the net to give Lycoming a 4-1 lead.

However, Messiah scored with 1:26 left in the quarter and added another just 23 seconds later, taking momentum into the break and through the third quarter, as they scored four of the first five goals of that quarter to take a two-goal lead before the Warriors mounted their comeback.

McCaffer finished with four goals and an assist, becoming the fifth player in school history to reach 50 goals in a season in the process, to lead the Warriors. Reilly added two goals and an assist and Cooper posted a goal and an assist.

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