Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania men's lacrosse team advanced to its fourth consecutive Ohio River Men's Lacrosse Conference Championship game by defeating the Hanover College Panthers 13-11 on Wednesday night at Pat Deacon Stadium in the ORLC semifinals.
Using a quick offensive start to build a four-goal lead, the Pioneers grappled with the feisty Panthers the rest of the evening in a physical tussle that eventually went the way of the home team.
As the number-two seed in this year's ORLC Conference Tournament, the Pioneers hosted the three-seeded Panthers on Wednesday night as both teams fought for a ticket to the championship game. After the Pioneers prevailed by a two-goal margin in their previous meeting on April 11, the sequel was contested just as tightly.
Sophomore attacker Trenton Sneed initialized the offense in the first quarter as the Pioneers outscored Hanover 7-3, with Sneed providing all five of his assists in the opening quarter.
Hanover made key adjustments in the second quarter, forcing the Pioneers into untimely turnovers in their attack area and converting patiently the other way to cut Transy's lead to two goals late in the first quarter. Transylvania junior midfielder Alex Cherry gave the Pioneers a significant boost, scoring a goal with nine seconds remaining in the half to hand Transylvania a 9-6 cushion at halftime.
The Panthers again punched back to start the second half, scoring the first two goals to slice Transylvania's lead to 9-8. But the Pioneers seized the momentum as they scored the next three goals off deliveries from freshman midfielder Kayd Aquino, senior midfielder Josh Mesmer, and sophomore midfielder Tommy Wegmiller to extend the lead to 12-8.
Hanover scored again down the stretch in the third quarter but Aquino provided an exclamation point, scoring another goal with a half-second remaining in the quarter to push the Pios into the fourth quarter with a 13-9 advantage.
While the Pioneers would not score again, the home team proved adept at using long possessions and moving the ball around efficiently. The Panthers mustered two late goals, but the Pioneers closed their final game at home of the season with smart precision.
Freshman goalie Michael Webb collected eight saves as he picked up the win in goal. Transylvania was 18-for-20 on clears for the night.
The Pioneers will travel to Latrobe, Pennsylvania to face the No. 1 seed Saint Vincent College Bearcats in the ORLC Championship game on Saturday, May 5. The winner will receive the ORLC's automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament. Face-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at Chuck Noll Field.
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