Lexington, Ky. – For the third year straight, the Ohio River Men's Lacrosse Conference tournament championship game will feature the Transylvania men's lacrosse team.
The Pioneers advanced into the 2017 edition of the conference championship game with a 10-4 victory against the Washington and Jefferson University Presidents Wednesday evening at Pat Deacon Stadium in the ORLC semifinal game.
The ORLC, now in its third year of existence, has witnessed the Pioneers claim a spot in the championship game in all three years. This year's championship game features the golden opportunity of an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Tournament to be awarded to the winner of Saturday's 1:00 p.m. championship game in Lexington.
Wednesday's game pitted the tournament No. 1 seed Transylvania against No. 4 seed Washington and Jefferson in a defensive battle that saw the Pioneers shutout the Presidents in the second half.
As has been the case for much of the season, the Pioneers received a balanced attack from its frontline corps. Transylvania took a 6-4 lead in the first half behind six goals from six different players. The first half featured a wave of momentum changes before Transylvania's defense established its dominance over the final 30 minutes of the semifinal matchup.
After Transylvania opened up the game on a goal from senior attacker Zach Roby, the Presidents fired back with two scores as the pace of the game slowed noticeably. Trailing 2-1, sophomore attacker Nick Bailey and junior midfielder Brendan Thompson each found the net to take a 3-2 lead to the end of the first quarter.
Those consecutive scores ignited a string of five unanswered goals for the Pioneers as they built a 6-2 lead with 11:39 in the first half. But the Presidents forced their tempo onto the game once again as they scored two consecutive goals while blanking Transylvania for the rest of the half.
The Pioneers won the battle of possession in the second half as they sought efficient and brief offensive opportunities. The end result were three Pioneer goals in the third quarter, and a 1-0 fourth quarter in favor of Transylvania for the 10-4 final. Transylvania was 23-of-24 on clears for the day, and won the battle in the ground ball department, 41-25 against Washington and Jefferson.
Freshman attacker Trenton Sneed led the way with two goals and three assists, while senior attacker Clark Watts provided two goals and one assist in the win. Senior goalie Cooper Fogle had a season-high 14 saves as the Pioneers showed off their top-five nationally-ranked scoring defense.
Transylvania now advances to Saturday's ORLC Tournament Championship to take on the No. 2 seed Saint Vincent College Bearcats at 1:00 p.m. at Pat Deacon Stadium. Tickets for adults are $8 and $5 for students and seniors. Saturday's ORLC championship game can be viewed online via the Transy Sports Network, accessible via transysports.com.
The Pioneers faced off with Saint Vincent in the first ORLC Tournament championship game in 2015, with Transylvania winning 12-5 behind a hat-trick from Watts and a two-goal game by current senior midfielder Zack Riggs. A win this time around would grant the Pioneers their first NCAA postseason berth in program history.
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