ITHACA, N.Y. – No. 15 Ithaca College outscored Stevenson University 9-5 in the second half en route to a 15-12 win in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship Wednesday afternoon at Higgins Stadium. The Bombers (16-3) advance to Saturday's third round and will travel to Tufts, while the Mustangs (12-7) see their 10th straight NCAA trip come to a close and saw their eight-game win streak snapped.
Ithaca, trailing 7-6 at halftime, scored the first four goals of the third quarter to take a 10-7 lead with 3:32 left. Junior JT Thelen broke the Mustang scoring drought with 42 seconds left to cut the lead to 10-8, which remained the score entering the final frame.
After the Bombers extended the lead to 11-8 at the 10:28 mark of the final frame, Stevenson scored twice in a span of 1:13 to make it a one-goal game. Sophomore Ethan Christensen scored at the 8:35 mark, then freshman Jacob Tatum took advantage of Ithaca goalie Robby Atwood coming out to attempt to pick up a ground ball, firing into an open net to make it a one-goal contest with 8:22 left.
Ithaca pushed the lead back to two just 20 seconds later, then at the 7:26 mark increased the lead to three on a Connor Crosson goal. After Christensen scored at 7:18, the Bombers scored at 6:40 and 3:48 to salt the game away, with senior Harrison Faecher closing out the scoring at 3:38.
Ithaca staked itself to a 2-0 lead just under three minutes into the game, before junior Gray McKee got the Mustangs on the board with a man-up tally at the 11:15 mark. Senior Kyle Karsian tied things at 8:57. After the Bombers retook the lead at 4:42, back-to-back goals by Thelen, his 68th and 69th of the season, gave Stevenson a 4-3 lead after one quarter.
Stevenson extended the lead to two goals twice in the second quarter, the second on a Christensen goal with 12 seconds left after he blew by a Bomber defender to make it 7-5. Ithaca would halve the lead with 0.6 seconds on the clock to trail by one at the break.
Thelen and Christensen led the Mustangs with three goals and an assist apiece, with Thelen finishing the season with 70 goals and 99 points, the second most in a single season in both categories. Faecher notched two goals and an assist in his final collegiate game, while Karsian finished with two goals. McKee added a goal and two assists.
Ithaca outshot Stevenson 43-41, with Mustang goalie Sam Ross making 15 saves and Atwood recording 10 stops. Sophomore Justin Burnette won 19-of-30 faceoffs for Stevenson and picked up 12 ground balls, but the Mustangs committed 23 turnovers to nine for the hosts, and were 24-34 on clear attempts.