YORK, Pa. – The York College men's lacrosse team (4-1) received their first loss of the 2011 campaign, falling 15-12 at the hands of the Messiah College Falcons (2-2) in the non-conference game.
Riding the outright success of senior Falcon goalkeeper Zach Cureton, Messiah kept the Green and White at bay throughout the entire contest as Cureton amassed an impressive 22 saves on 34 shots on goal. In an unprecedented effort this year, York was held scoreless for the first 20 minutes of the game and did not notch a tally until junior midfielder Nick Bach put the Spartans on the board with his first goal of the season at the 10:55 mark in the second quarter.
York followed Bach's score by striking two minutes later as junior midfielder John Dubois received a pass from senior captain Josh Gamble. Dubois cut left before making an athletic move to his right to get Cureton off-balance before coming back to his left to net the unassisted goal. With 4:10 left in the first half, junior Jimmy Langton added the 13th goal of his impressive season after he made room at the top of the box and sent a whip shot low to beat Cureton to bring the Green and White within three. However, Messiah won the ensuing face-off and raced down the field to score a mere seven seconds later and go up by the four-goal lead they would carry into halftime.
Gamble got the scoring started in the third quarter, connecting on his 14th goal of the season with a rocket over Cureton's shoulder to cut the Falcons' lead to 7-4 with 13:37 remaining in the third. Falcon sophomore Kevan Schellenburg then answered back as he netted his second goal of the day and eighth on the year at the 12:34 mark to extend the Messiah lead to four once again at 8-4.
With 9:03 remaining in the third quarter, junior B.J. Blaker scored his eighth goal of the season as he backed down a Falcon defender before dipping underneath a swinging defenseman's stick and ripping a pretty jump shot top shelf to once again bring the Spartans within three. The York offense would then go on a tear for the subsequent three minutes as the team tallied three goals to tie the match at eight, beginning with Gamble's second of the contest and followed by two from sophomore James Lowe.
Lowe's second goal came off a fast break characterized by quick, crisp passes before Gamble supplied a perfect delivery to Lowe for the score. The assist from Gamble was his third of the day and 151st career point, tying him with Scott Hermes at the top of the program's all-time list.
Unfortunately, that would be the closest York came to taking the lead. The third quarter ended with Messiah responding by recording three goals of their own and once again pulling away with a three-goal lead by the quarter's end.
The fourth began with Lowe's third goal of the day to cut the score to 11-9, only to have Messiah score four consecutive goals and go up 15-9. The Green and White responded to the Falcon offensive with Blaker's second goal of the afternoon. However, York then endured a five-minute drought that was ended with freshman Justin Aita's fourth goal of the season with 1:21 remaining. Junior John Dubois brought the Spartans' back to within three on his eighth goal of the season with only 44 seconds remaining in the game, but a stingy Messiah defense would shut down York for the final seconds to ensure a 15-12 victory.
The Spartans will look for a swift return to the win column as they host Catholic on March 16 at 3:30 before traveling to Frostburg State for a 4:00 game on March 19 for the team's first Capital Athletic Conference match of the year.
Jamie Lowe photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh - www.sharpedgefoto.com
Game story written by Matt Pucci - York College Athletic Communications contributing writer