ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. - Trailing by just two at the end of the third quarter, the Catholic University men's lacrosse team was outscored 8-2 in the fourth as the Cardinals fell on the road at top-seeded Elizabethtown in the semifinals of the Landmark Conference Men's Lacrosse Championship Wednesday at Wolf Field, 15-6.
Catholic (8-8) finishes its season with an 8-8 record for the second consecutive year while the Blue Jays advance to the conference championship game for the fourth-straight year, looking for their third title.
Led by two goals from Ben Hiltebeitel and two assists from Nick Cost, Elizabethtown (10-7) led 6-1 with 7:00 remaining in the second quarter. The Cards would answer with three goals in-a-row from freshmen Cameron Dunn, Tommy Welch and Nick Fanelli to pull within two with 3:21 remaining in the third quarter.
However, that would be as close as Catholic would get as the Blue Jays' Mike DiGenova scored with only 39 seconds left to push the lead back to three after three.
The goal was the first of five-straight for the home team who pushed its lead to seven with 9:11 to play after back-to-back goals just nine seconds apart. Welch netted his second of the game at 7:16, but Elizabethtown tacked on four more over the next four-plus minutes to take its largest lead, 15-5, with 2:23 remaining.
Playing in his final game, senior Dalton Leach scored his first career goal with 1:35 left to provide the final margin. After zero points over his first three seasons, Leach totaled three this year with one goal and two assists, all of which came in his final six games.
The Cardinals were outshot 13-7 in the final frame where the Blue Jays' held an 11-0 advantage in ground balls and won 7-of-10 faceoffs.
Junior Griffin Smith had one assist and a team-best two caused turnovers while Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year, freshman Mike McShea, won 15-of-22 faceoffs and picked up 11 ground balls. In his first season, McShea set new school records with 145 ground balls and 227 faceoff wins while finishing second with 351 faceoffs taken, just four shy of Tom Scotto's record set in 2011.