Latrobe, Pa. – The Transylvania men's lacrosse team captured its fourth consecutive Ohio River Men's Lacrosse Conference tournament championship with a 12-2 victory over the Saint Vincent College Bearcats Saturday afternoon at Chuck Noll Field.
Junior midfielder Nic Bailey led the Pioneers with three goals as Transylvania clinched its second straight NCAA Tournament berth by achieving the tournament championship.
The 2018 edition of the tournament title was especially sweet for the Pioneers, who defeated St. Vincent on Saturday after receiving its only conference defeat this season at the hands of the Bearcats in March, an 11-10 setback in Lexington.
On Saturday, the Pioneers made amends on the conference's biggest stage, overpowering the Bearcats to the tune of a 7-1 first half outburst, cruising to victory in the second half.
Transylvania improved to 3-0 against St. Vincent in its last three tournament championship games; both teams have met in the tournament championship three times over the past four seasons.
Saturday's championship event pitted a rematch between Transylvania and St. Vincent from the 2017 tournament final and featured a similar wave of momentum by the visiting Pioneers.
Similar to last year's meeting, the championship game began with an opening goal by the Bearcats and was followed by a sweltering response from Transylvania, who scored 12 unanswered goals on Saturday, just as they did in last season's championship game. On Saturday, the Bearcats tapped in a late goal to make the final mark 12-2 to juxtapose last season's 12-1 final, but much like last season's final meeting, the day again belonged to the Pioneers.
After a defensive impasse to begin the afternoon, the Bearcats scored first as Alex Mueser found the back of the net. The Pioneers answered back with three consecutive goals to end the first quarter as sophomore midfielder Corbyn Buchart, senior midfielder Josh Mesmer, and junior midfielder Alex Cherry each took turns scoring.
The second quarter was a two-way masterpiece for the Pioneers as they outscored the Bearcats 4-0. Bailey scored his first two goals on back-to-back strikes to open the second quarter while Mesmer scored his second goal. Freshman midfielder Kayd Aquino scored the final goal of the half with 96 seconds remaining.
The third quarter was another shutout story for the Pioneers as Bailey earned his hat-trick to finish the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Pioneers completed their procession to the trophy as they held the Bearcats scoreless for over the first 14 minutes of the quarter while tacking on two more goals for size.
Freshman goalie Michael Webb turned in a day to remember with a career-high 17 saves, picking up the win in a championship setting.
Sophomore defender Ben Kraft led the way with a team-high seven ground balls while sophomore long-stick midfielder T.J. Toivonen had six ground balls and an assist. Cherry, Mesmer, and Aquino each finished the day with two goals apiece.
The Pioneers complete their pre-NCAA Tournament run with a record of 12-6 while St. Vincent completed their year at 15-4.
With the ORLC awarding an automatic qualifying berth into the NCAA Tournament to its tournament championship winner, the Pioneers will advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second year straight and second time in program history. Transylvania awaits the unveiling of the tournament bracket which will be revealed on Sunday, May 6 at 9:00 p.m. during the NCAA's selection show. The selection show will be streamed live at NCAA.com.
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