LYNCHBURG, Va. -- It was still very much anyone's win to take after the men's lacrosse teams from Virginia Wesleyan College and Roanoke College battled through a little more than 40 minutes of Saturday's Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) semifinal game at Lynchburg College.
Senior Mike Moran (Woolwich, N.J./Kingsway Regional) scored twice in the third quarter to pull Virginia Wesleyan to a 5-all draw with the Maroons with 5:46 still remaining to be played in the quarter.
But, that's where the scoring stopped for VWC. Roanoke closed out the quarter with two goals and outscored the Marlins 4-0 in the fourth to post an 11-5 victory that sends the Maroons into Sunday's title match against host Lynchburg College.
Virginia Wesleyan, ranked No. 12 in the South Region prior to the match, kept pace with the No. 7 regionally ranked Maroons through three quarters, trailing just 39-25 in shots. But, Roanoke (12-5) tightened its defense in the fourth and gave up just two shots to the Marlins (10-6).
The Marlins, who defeated Roanoke 17-15 at Roanoke during the regular season, started impressively, as junior Josh Currier (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Name-Hill School) and senior Joe Papetti (Edgewater, Md./South River) scored within 11 seconds of each other, all in the first 28 seconds of competition.
Roanoke came back gradually however, tying the score on shots from Colin Mackenzie (Hamilton, Mass./Holderness) and Will Pilat (Roaoke/Hidden Valley). The score remained knotted for a little more than two minutes before senior Devynn Kelly (Harwood, Md./Southern) scored off a pass from John Roth (Merrick, N.Y./Calhoun) to put VWC in front 3-2.
Roanoke scored the final goal of the quarter and the only goal by either team in the second quarter, to take a hard-fought 4-3 lead at halftime. But, 3:40 into the third, Moran came through for VWC to make it a 4-4 game and struck again with 5:46 on the clock, assisted by Currier, to create the 5-5 tie.
The loss overshadowed another standout effor from senior goalie Rory Finnegan (Lowell, Mass./Lowell), who recorded 20 saves. The effort marked his seventh straight double-digit effort and his second highest total of saves this season.
Moran led VWC goal production with two, while Currier added a goal and two assists. Mackenzie led Roanoke with seven goals.