Reinhardt (Ga.) Rallies to Advance to Second Straight National Title Game
Grand Rapids, Mich. – No. 2 and defending NAIA Invitational Champion Reinhardt (Ga.) erased a 6-2 halftime deficit to defeat No. 3 Indiana Tech 11-7 in the semifinals of the NAIA Men’s Lacrosse Invitational Friday afternoon at the AQ Athletic Field. With the win the Eagles advances to their second straight NAIA championship game and improve to 15-1, while the Warriors fall to 12-3.
Indiana Tech took advantage of an Eagles turnover as Andrew Ryan scored an unassisted goal a minute into the first quarter. The score remained 1-0 until the 5:49 mark when Jace Childs put a well-placed shot into the back of the cage to make it 2-0. Reinhardt's Zane Anderson cut the deficit to 2-1 with an unassisted goal in the final seconds of the opening quarter.
Andrew Neller scooped the ground ball off the opening faceoff of the second quarter and on the ensuing possession Will McKinney found Childs for a goal 18 seconds into the period to extend Indiana Tech’s lead to 3-1. The Warriors added back-to-back goals to take a 5-1 advantage with 11:19 remaining. Reinhardt added a goal before Indiana Tech added a goal with 2:38 left to take a 6-2 lead into halftime.
Reinhardt came out strong in the second half and took advantage of a Warriors penalty as Bennett Jarrett netted a man-up goal. The two teams traded goals before Jarrett found Dillan Bousquet in front of the cage for a quick shot into the upper left corner of the cage for a goal to cut Indiana Tech’s lead to 7-5 after three quarters.
The Eagles won the opening faceoff of the fourth quarter and on the ensuing possession Bousquet scooped the ground ball, off a Gavin Banks’ shot, and fired it home to make it a one-goal game. Just over a minute later, Anderson connected with the equalizer to even the score at 7-7 with 12:49 remaining. A Banks unassisted goal, two minutes later, gave the Eagles their first lead of the game. Reinhardt added three unanswered goals for the 11-7 final.
Anderson and Bousquet each tallied three goals and an assist to lead the way for Reinhardt. Jarrett chipped in four points, two goals and two assists, while Jake Starnes went 11-21 on the faceoff and scooped a game-high nine ground balls.
Leading the way for Indiana Tech was Childs, who netted a team-high two goals. McKinney added a goal and an assist, while Neller went 8-17 on faceoffs with four ground balls. Evan Schuster made 13 saves in the cag, including four in both the first and second quarter.
The Eagles will face the winner of the top-seed Madonna vs. No. 4-seed Cumberlands for the championship Saturday, May 12, at 4:30 p.m.