Photo by Tere Poplin
GREENVILLE, S.C. – (Box Score | Invitational Schedule) The first semifinal of the 2016 NAIA Men’s Lacrosse Invitational proved to be a nail-biter, as No. 2 Missouri Valley came from behind to defeat No. 3 Siena Heights (Mich.), 8-7, in double overtime Friday afternoon at Sirrine Stadium.
With the win, Missouri Valley (20-2) advances into the finals of the national invitational and will face the winner of No. 1 Davenport (Mich.) and No. 4 Lourdes (Ohio) Saturday at 5 p.m. EDT.
Siena Height struck first as Spencer Macek connected with Shane Lewandowski for a goal with 5:25 remaining in the opening period. Missouri Valley evened the score when Austin Shindoll netted an unassisted goal to tie the game 1-1 after the first stanza.
Jiles Munafo’s unassisted goal sparked a 3-0 run over a five minute span to give Missouri Valley a 4-1 advantage. Sienna Heights cut the deficit to 4-2 as Macek netted a goal as time expired in the second stanza.
It was an evenly matched first half as both teams recorded 15 shots, 12 ground balls, and four saves.
The two teams traded goals in the first five minutes of the third period as Missouri Valley led 5-3. The score remained that way until the 6:47 mark when Macek found Nathan Lipon for a goal. That goal was the start of three goal stretch to give Siena Heights a 6-5 lead after the third quarter.
Siena Heights extended their lead to 7-5 five minutes into the fourth, but the Vikings responded with a goal to cut the deficit to 7-6. With 1:38 remaining Dan Block intercepted a Saints’ pass and on the ensuing possession Carson Brezinski netted an unassisted goal to tie the game 7-7 and force overtime.
After a scoreless first overtime in which both teams took two shots, Missouri Valley won the opening faceoff of the second overtime. With 1:04 remaining Ryan Barnes’ shot connected with the back of the cage for the 8-7 final.
Barnes and Shindoll both registered a pair of goals in the win for Missouri Valley. Goalkeeper Brandon Minshall finished with eight saves, while Jack Smith scooped up a team-high six ground balls.
Lewandowski ended the game as the top scorer for Siena Heights with two goals. Mark Ward went 8-12 on face offs and picked up four ground balls in the loss.
Siena Heights is eliminated from the National Invitational and ends the year with a 12-6 record.
For more information on the NAIA Lacrosse National Invitational, click here.