ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- This is the stuff dreams are made of.
Junior Kevin Stump scored with 58 seconds left in the second overtime period Wednesday to lift the No. 5 Williams College men's lacrosse team to a 12-11 win over No. 1 R.I.T. on the Tiger's Turf Field in a NCAA Div. III Tournament quarterfinal match-up. The Ephs improved to 18-3 and will play rival Amherst in a national semifinal game Sunday in Williamstown at a time to be announced.
"It's pretty exciting," Ephs head coach George McCormack said "I really want to give credit to our defense, I felt like we sputtered a bit on offense in the first half. I thought our defense was asked to do a lot, they faced a lot of possessions and did a great job of communicating and staying together. And our big guys got going in the end; Stump and Hoffman and Hincks. It was an incredible team effort, I'm just so proud of the guys."
Stump's third goal of the game capped a furious Williams rally over the final 6 minutes and 24 seconds of the game. Trailing 11-8, Stump scored off an assist from Jake Haase with 6:24 to go to make it an 11-8. Down 11-9, Jared Strauss made a great run at the goal and slipped a shot past Tiger keeper Walker Hare with 1:36 remaining to make it a one-goal game. With 57 seconds left in the game, after a Williams timeout, junior Brendan Hoffman broke down his defender to the right, and fired a shot past Hare to tie the game 11-all.
RIT had a chance late in regulation, but Gahagan came up with a big stop. Both teams had their chances in the first overtime, but both defenses kept the other team off the scoreboard. Williams had two good chances early in the second overtime, but Hare came up with two big saves.
The game was a back-n-forth affair as one might expect. The Ephs defense was exceptional early the game, shutting out RIT over the 15 minutes. Hincks had the only goal of the first quarter to give Williams a 1-0 lead. But the Tigers opened the second quarter with three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead on a goal by Shawn Nally and two from Dawson Tait. Just 2:31 before halftime, Haase fed Tim Saffold, who fired a shot past Hare. RIT held that 3-2 lead at halftime.
Out of the break, Hoffman scored 37 seconds into the third quarter to tie the game, 3-3. Three minutes later, Hincks scored his second goal of the game off an assist from Stump for a 4-3 Williams lead. RIT would score three straight to take a 5-4 lead and the Ephs would counter with goals from Hincks, Cory Lund and Stump for a 7-5 lead with 4:23 remaining in the third quarter. But RIT closed the quarter with a three-goal run of its own, the last a tally by Nally with only two seconds on the clock, and the hosts led 8-7 after three.
Three minutes and 53 seconds into the fourth quarter, sophomore Matthew Seligson tied the game at 8-8 with a strong shot from the right side. But the Tigers scored three straight in span a 1:44. Cam Isaac closed the run with a goal with 7:23 remaining for an 11-8 lead.
The Williams defense, led by Cameron Brown, Kyle Horihan, Chris Burdick, Ben Anthony with help from Brian Greenstein, Noah McCoy and Rock Stewart kept the Tigers off the scoreboard for the final 14:25 of the contest including the two overtimes. Alex Kitt, who won 15 of 28 face-offs in the game, won three straight down the stretch of regulation.
The final stats were quite even. RIT had a 46-45 edge in shots and a 45-43 advantage in ground balls. Gahagan had six groundballs and one caused turnover to go with his 13 save-effort. Six Ephs had four ground balls: Brown had four and two caused turnovers, Stump had four and one caused turnover, Michael Greenberg had four and one caused turnover, Kitt had four and McCoy had four.