A thrilling non-conference men's lacrosse game at The University of Scranton's Weiss Field on Saturday ended in favor of Muhlenberg as the visiting Mules scored the game-winning goal with 1:36 remaining in regulation to defeat the Royals, 16-15.
Muhlenberg (2-0) overcame a 9-5 halftime time deficit to hold a 15-11 advantage with 5:21 left in in regulation. The Royals (2-2) rallied with four straight goals to tie the game with 1:53 left on the clock, but Matt Marrella's 17 seconds later would stand as the game-winner.
Junior Michael Elefonte (Kinnelon, N.J./Kinnelon) recorded a team-high five points on two goals and three assists for Scranton while junior Connor Kirkwood (Millburn, N.J./St Peter's Prep) (three goals, one assist) and sophomore Jalen Holmes (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) (one goal, three assists) added four points apiece.
Scranton scored three of the first four goals in Saturday's opening quarter before Muhlenberg closed the period the period with three straight goals to claim a 4-3 lead at the end of the first 15 minutes of play, setting the tone for what would be a game highlighted by runs for each team.
The Royals netted the first five goals in the second stanza and outscored the Mules 6-1 in the period to hold a 9-5 advantage at halftime.
The third quarter belong to Muhlenberg as the visitors tallied all eight goals in the period to take a 13-9 lead into the final 15 minutes of play.
Two goals by Scranton brought the hosts to with two at 13-11, but the Mules countered with two strikes of their own to restore their four-goal advantage with 5:21 left on the clock.
The Royals were not about to go away though, potting the next four markers, the last two coming from Kirkwood, to level the score at 15-apiece.
Muhlenberg won the ensuing face-off following Kirkwood's tying goal and Marrella scored the decisive goal on the possession to give the Mules the wild victory.
Senior Tim Dolan (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City) and junior Quinn Killeen (Berkeley Heights, N.J./New Providence) had two goals and an assist apiece while sophomore Collin Purdy (Hillsborough, N.J./Hillsborough) also scored twice for the Royals.
Sophomore Daniel Mallay (South Hempstead, N.Y./South Side) and freshman Cole Lukasiewicz (Havertown, Pa./Haverford) chipped in with a goal and an assist each while junior Alexander Dadourian (Summit, N.J./Summit) also scored a goal in the loss.
Purdy won 21 of 31 face-offs and picked up a game-high 13 groundballs for Scranton while junior Gordon Paul (Ocean, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) added a pair of caused turnovers.
Freshman goalkeeper T.J. Grogan (West Nyack, N.Y./Clarkstown South) made nine saves in 43 and a half minutes of action in the Royals' cage while sophomore Shayne Fallon (West Deptford, N.J./West Deptford) made four stops in 16 and a half minutes between the pipes.
The hosts held a slim, 43-42 edge in shots for the game while claiming a 50-38 advantage in groundballs. The Royals also held a 21-12 lead in face-offs won for the contest.
Both teams score twice on extra-man opportunities in the game.
Scranton looks to snap a two-game skid on Wednesday when it travels to Morrisville, N.Y. take on Morrisville State in a non-conference tilt starting at 4 p.m.