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Susquehanna Nips Men's LAX in Landmark Conference Clash, 7-6

Kings Point, NY - Chris Whitenack (East Meadow, NY) won 15-of-16 face-offs and had 16 ground balls but the USMMA men's lacrosse team dropped a 7-6 decision to Susquehanna at Brooks Stadium.  The Mariners fired 46 shots but the Crusaders' goalie, Jonathan Berg, came up with 13 saves while USMMA net minder Alex Peyreigne (Weston, CT) tallied nine saves.  Troy Smith (Deer Park, TX) led the Mariners offense with two goals and SU's Austen Lein topped all players with four points, two goals and two assists.

Merchant Marine (3-4, 1-2 Landmark) got on the board just 51 seconds into the game as Phil Walker (Falmouth, MA) found the back of the net with an assist from Ray Waters (Sayville, NY).  The Crusaders found the only other goal of the quarter five minutes later on a Nick Reardon shot.  The two sides traded a pair of goals in the second quarter with Whitenack and Smith scoring for the Mariners as the contest was locked at 3-3 heading into halftime.

Susquehanna (5-5, 2-0 Landmark) took its first lead of the game with 4:22 to play in the third quarter on the strength of a Nick Citron marker.  USMMA opened and closed the frame with tallies from Robert Tirrito (Centerport, NY) and Smith.  The fourth quarter started tied at 5-5 but Geoff Harty (Chicago, IL) needed just 37 seconds to rifle a shot into the net and give Merchant Marine a 6-5 edge.

Citron answered for the visitors just 43 seconds later to even the affair at 6-6.  Lein put in a goal with 9:14 remaining in regulation with an assist from Chet McLaughlin that would prove to be the game winner.  The defenses locked down the remainder of the quarter, USMMA was anchored in the back by Kyle Sammis (Dix Hills, NY) who had three caused turnovers and four ground balls.

The Mariners would have two chances to send the game to overtime down the stretch.  Walker was denied by a Berg save with 1:03 in regulation that could have ended the game.  However, Merchant Marine forced a turnover to earn one last possession.  Harty got the call and made a nice move in front of the cage but Berg again made a stop, this time with three seconds left, to seal the 7-6 decision for Susquehanna.

The USMMA men's lacrosse team returns to acton Wednesday night at Western Connecticut State.