BRIDGEWATER, Va. – In a defense slugfest at the Jopson Athletic Complex, freshman Jeff Strickland scored a man-up goal with two ticks left in regulation to send the game to overtime where with 2:52 to play in overtime number two Randolph's Colton Wood found the back of the net to hand the Bridgewater Eagles men's lacrosse team a heartbreaking 9-8 loss on Saturday evening.
Bridgewater scored first in the contest when Thomas Maher netted the go-ahead goal with 12:30 to go in the first to hand the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Just eight seconds later after taking the ensuing faceoff, the WildCats netted the equalizer on an Andrew Gleitz goal to knot the game up at a goal each. Andrew Risse assisted on the Gleitz goal.
Following the goal, Gleitz went to the penalty box on a slashing call, but the WildCats took the lead at the tail end of the penalty when Risse scored a man-down goal off of a pass from Shane Soghomonian to put Randolph out in front, 2-1.
Sophomore Rob Simmons ended the first-quarter scoring with 6:07 to play in the opening frame when he took a Billy Lentz pass and found the back of the net to send the contest to the second quarter at a 2-2 deadlock.
Both teams battled back and forth in the opening minutes of the second quarter as the two defenses ratcheted down and held the opposition off of the scoreboard.
Randolph regained the lead late in the second frame on Gleitz's second goal of the day to take a 3-2 advantage but the lead was short lived.
Sophomore Thomas Maher stuck a shot into the back of the net with 2:51 to go in the first half to knot the game up at three goals each which is how it remained at the intermission.
The first 30 minutes was played to a dead heat on the scoreboard and on the stat sheet. Randolph held a slim 15-13 edge in shots while the Eagles committed 14 turnovers and forced a dozen WildCats miscues. Both teams also won four faceoffs each over the first half of play.
After a deadlocked first half, Bridgewater took control of play in the third quarter. With 9:45 to go in the third, Strickland scored the first of his three goals on the day to put the Eagles back out in front by a 4-3 score. Strickland added a goal three minutes later to pad the Bridgewater lead before Simmons rounded out the third-quarter scoring with a goal off of a pass from Derrick Daniels to send the Eagles into the final quarter with a comfortable 6-3 lead.
Bridgewater (5-9, 0-7 ODAC) looked to put the game away early in the fourth stanza when Kevin Ashcraft took a Maher pass and fired a shot past the Randolph keeper to put Bridgewater up by a 7-3 tally.
Following the Ashcraft tally, Randolph went on the attack. The WildCats used two goals in 31 seconds to trim the deficit to two at a 7-5 margin as Bobby Crosby and Wood found the back of the net to cut the Bridgewater lead in half.
With 6:11 to go, Soghomonian scored to pull the WildCats to within a single goal before Corey Nehlig scored with 4:08 to play to tie the contest up at seven goals each.
Randolph (5-9, 1-6 ODAC) took the ensuing faceoff, but the Eagles defense was up to the task, forcing a WildCats miscue to give Bridgewater the ball back with under three minutes to play. The Eagles proceeded to give the ball back to the WildCats and Risse fired a shot high prior to Ryan Campbell giving the WildCats the lead with a goal with just 83 ticks to play to hand Randolph an 8-7 advantage.
Freshman Nick Strider took the next faceoff for Bridgewater and the Eagles used a timeout to set up the offensive formation for the final minute of play. After a Daniels shot sailed high, Randolph's Baden James picked up an unnecessary roughness penalty and was sent to the sideline for the remainder of regulation.
Both teams exchanged turnovers in the final 30 seconds of play and a Daniels shot went wide prior to Bridgewater racing to the end line in time to maintain possession. Strickland then weaved his way in front of the net and ripped a shot into the back of the net with two ticks to play to send the contest to overtime.
In the first extra session, each team had a look at the net but neither team put a ball on frame as the game headed to overtime number two at an 8-8 tie.
Randolph took the opening possession of the second overtime prior to Lucas Clark forcing a turnover to give the ball back to the Eagles. Bridgewater raced down field and Daniels fired a shot at the net but Randolph netminder Cam Davis was up to the task, turning away Daniels shot to keep the WildCats alive.
The WildCats quickly turned the tide and sprinted to the opposite end where Wood found the back of the net to take a 9-8 victory for Randolph, handing the Eagles a heartbreaking defeat.
Strickland led a solid Bridgewater attack with a career-high three goals on five shots. The freshman also committed a costly seven turnovers in the loss.
Gleitz and Wood each tallied two goals for the WildCats in the win and Davis secured the win after turning away seven Bridgewater scoring attempts on the day.
Bridgewater returns to action on Wednesday at Lynchburg. Opening faceoff against the Hornets is set for 7 p.m.