Greenville, S.C. – (Box Score) Second seed Reinhardt (Ga.) used a seven goal first quarter to help defeated sixth seed Indiana Tech, 14-13, to advance to the 2017 NAIA Invitational championship game Friday at Sirrine Stadium. With the win the Eagles improve to 16-1, while the Warriors finished 12-6.
Reinhardt struck first as Kevon James scored an unassisted goal just over a minute into the first quarter. Indiana Tech took advantage of an Eagles turnover as Noah Puckett found Will McKinney for a goal to tie the game 1-1. The two teams traded goals before Reinhardt scored five unanswered to take a 7-2 lead after the opening period. Bennett Jarrett and Jeff Mathis connected on two of those five goals.
The Eagles extended their lead to 9-2 as Connor Mills and Kevon James scored back-to-goals. After the two teams traded goals, Indiana Tech scored five straight, including a pair of man-up goals to cut the deficit to 10-8 at the break. Jace Childs scored a pair of goals those goals as part of the rally.
The two teams continued to battle in the second half as Artie Lewis found Mathis for a goal to give Reinhardt an 11-8 advantage with 11:03 remaining. The Eagles added another goal before Jordan Reyes found Brandon Gates cutting towards the cage for a goal to make it 12-9 in favor of the Eagles. Both teams added a goal within 34 seconds of each other to give Reinhardt a 13-10 lead after the third quarter.
Indiana Tech cut the deficit to two goals as Childs' put a well-placed shot past the goalie with 11:08 remaining. Mathis scored his sixth goal of the contest, before the Warriors scored an unassisted goal to cut the deficit to 14-12 with 6:51 remaining. The score remained that way until the nine second mark when Puckett found Gates for a goal to bring Indiana Tech within one. The Warriors won the ensuing faceoff but were unable to convert a shot for the 14-13 final.
Mathis led the way for Reinhardt with six goals and an assist, while Jarrett added two goals and dished out three assists. Grant Sufferling went 19-28 on faceoffs and scooped eight ground balls. Jacob Sammons made nine saves in the win.
Leading the way for Indiana Tech was Gates and Childs. Gates recorded four goals and two assist, while Childs tallied a hat trick, one assist, and nine ground balls. Chandler Peterson chipped in four points and scooped four ground balls.
Reinhardt advances to the championship game on Saturday against the winner of the Missouri Valley-Keiser game. That game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.