Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
BOULDER, CO – The Poets and Tigers celebrated the 50th Anniversary of men's lacrosse Friday during an 11-10 OT thriller that likely punched the NCAA Tournament ticket for Colorado College, while helping them retain the coveted Locker-Stabler Cup for the fourth year in a row.
Foster Cunningham had the first look 43 seconds into the overtime period but a leg save by Tiger goalie Chase Murphy allowed CC to go down the other way and setup for the game winner coming from Tyler Allen.
Maxwell Jones ignited the scoring with 5:43 to play in the first quarter but three unanswered from the Tigers would give them a 3-1 lead after the first period.
Aaron Self would cut the deficit to one opening up the second but another 3-0 run by CC would move the score to 6-2. Whittier didn't go away however putting together their own run to close out the half.
Sophomores Jonathan Kassity and Scott Pescheret struck nine seconds apart to cut the Poets' deficit to 6-4 with 1:25 to go, and then Jones struck for the second time with 4.5 ticks remaining to cut CC's lead to 6-5 after 30 minutes.
CC would add the first two out of the half from Jack Kreitler and Tyler Allen but an unassisted goal from Eric Omri with 15 seconds left would keep the Purple & Gold within striking distance.
Jack McCormick would put the Tigers up by three to start off the fourth but a 4-1 run by the Poets, which included two within the final minute from Self and Cunningham would knot the game up at ten forcing overtime.
Senior Nathan Kleponis finished with 14 saves against 25 shots as the Poets slipped to 7-4 on the season.
Jones led the offense with two goals and an assist, while Thomas Brook had three groundballs and a caused turnover on the defensive end.
Both coaches believe that Whittier deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament.
"I think they have a great chance of making it," Colorado College Head Coach Sean Woods said. "Even with this loss, they've put together a nice resume and with their strength of schedule, it would be a shame if they weren't in the tournament. They're that good."
Head Coach for Whittier Brian Kelly hopes strength of schedule will be the deciding factor for the Poets.
"I certainly feel we're one of the five best 'Pool B' teams," he said. "Whether the committee will agree with that, I don't know. Our win percentage is a little low, but us and CC are far and away the highest in terms of strength of schedule."
The NCAA tournament bracket will be released Sunday, May, 4, at 8 p.m. MT at www.NCAA.com.