HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, Va. – The Bridgewater College men's lacrosse team is going back to the ODAC playoffs and will face a rematch with Hampden-Sydney after upsetting the Tigers in the regular season.
Bridgewater earned the sixth seed again after a 13-4, 6-4 ODAC mark that was highlighted by a 14-13 win over HSC- the first time BC has beaten one of the ODAC's four perennial contenders.
In the win on Jopson Field over Hampden-Sydney (12-5, 7-3), Eric Husselbaugh scored the winning goal on a crease dive with 21 seconds remaining, and Mason Gauntt (13-of-25 faceoffs, 12 ground balls) won the final faceoff to ice it.
The Eagles scored the game's final five goals and held Hampden-Sydney scoreless over the final 17:28 behind 23 saves by Hunter Bagby- who stopped 15 shots with just four goals allowed in the second half.
"Beating Hampden-Sydney here really showed the kids that they could play with anyone," said head coach Mic Grant. "It gives us confidence going down that- different from last year- our kids know they can beat their opponent. We haven't feared anyone all year, so they're excited."
Despite the upset loss, the Tigers still grabbed the third seed for the postseason with three-point victories over Randolph-Macon (14-11) and Roanoke (13-10).
The Tigers started six underclassmen in that game vs. Bridgewater and feature nine underclassmen among their top 11 scorers- including sophomores Jared Medwar (39g, 22a) and Jake O'Brien (32g, 12a). Senior John Burke leads the ODAC in assists with 43.
The faceoff battle was key for the Eagles last time around and will be crucial again in this contest. Hampden-Sydney's specialist Jake Brummett has won 64.6% of his faceoffs and leads the ODAC in ground balls with 146. On the BC side, Gauntt ranks 10th in the nation in faceoff percentage (71.3) and is already the school's career ground balls leader (205) in just 30 games played.
Bridgewater, who has won six straight ODAC games, is led on the attack by Husselbaugh (currently the ODAC's leading scorer with 83 points) and senior Sean MacLeish (36g, 21a).
Senior Jake Truman is second in the ODAC in caused turnovers (35) and needs two more to equal the school career mark. Bagby leads the ODAC in victories (13) while ranking fourth in save percentage (56.4).
Tonight's winner will face second-seeded Lynchburg on Friday in Lexington, Va. in the semifinals. Top-seeded Washington & Lee will be hosting the ODAC final four, and faces the Roanoke/Randolph-Macon winner in the other semi.