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Kenyon earns improbable NCAC semifinal win

DELAWARE, Ohio — Despite being down by four goals late in Thursday night’s North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Tournament semifinal, the Kenyon College men’s lacrosse team put together an incredible rally that ended with a Rollins Heath goal. That score, which hit twine with just 10 seconds left in the game, gave the Owls a 13-12 victory in a crazy affair at Selby Stadium.

The game, which was delayed approximately an hour and 45 minutes due to both heavy rains and lightning, marked the third year in a row that Kenyon defeated Ohio Wesleyan in the conference semifinal. The result improved the Owls’ overall record to 13-5 and advanced the team to Sunday’s tournament final at Denison University.

Trailing 9-6 to start the fourth quarter and then 10-6 a minute into the quarter, Kenyon began to rally. Things got going for the Owls when Mike Kapral scored a man-up goal at the 13:50 mark. One minute later, Jack McCarren scored to cut the Kenyon deficit to two.

Ohio Wesleyan got one goal back, but Kenyon tallied two straight scores from David Chintala, making the game 10-9 in favor of the Battling Bishops. At the 3:36 mark, Ohio Wesleyan moved ahead by two, but 32 seconds later, Gavin Gumucio scored to bring Kenyon within one, once again.

At that point, with 3:04 left in the contest, the lights at Selby Stadium unexpectedly went out, causing another delay of roughly 20 minutes. 

When play resumed, Kenyon’s Will Jordan won the face-off. The Owls offense got the ball to Mike Kapral, who got a shot off that was saved. The Battling Bishops, however, failed to clear and Kapral regained possession and fired again. This time he scored and tied the game, 12-12, with 2:08 showing on the clock.

Ohio Wesleyan won the next face off and burned some clock before taking a shot. The attempt came in low from the right side and Kenyon goalkeeper Adam Hall made the save, his 16th and final save of the game. 

Kenyon marched the other way, got set up in the Ohio Wesleyan side of the field and called a timeout with 33 seconds left. When the teams got back on the field, Kenyon made several passes before finding Heath up top. When Heath collected the ball, he worked the left wing, got enough space around his defender and fired the game-winner into the upper right corner of the Ohio Wesleyan net.

The Battling Bishops, who fell to 11-5 with the loss, won the ensuing face-off, but only had enough time to launch a wild, desperation shot that sailed far wide of the Kenyon net.

Heath not only scored the game-winner, but led the Owls with five points on four goals and an assist. Kapral ended up with four goals and Chintala had three, matching his season total of 54 from one season ago.

Until Heath scored the game-winner with 10 seconds left, Kenyon did not hold a lead in the game. Ohio Wesleyan held a 4-1 advantage in the first quarter,  a 6-4 lead at half, an 8-4 lead in the third and that 10-6 cushion in the fourth before Kenyon pulled off the comeback.

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