The Stevenson men's lacrosse team's fledgling run through the NCAA Division III tournament ground to a halt.
On the heels of beating eight-time national champion Salisbury, the No. 1 Mustangs could not sustain that effort and fell to No. 5 Gettysburg, 12-7, in the semifinal round at Caves Athletic Complex in Owings Mills on Sunday.
Stevenson (17-2), which became the first athletic program at the school to advance to a national tournament semifinal, played like a newcomer, committing costly turnovers and taking quick, low-percentage shots against a Bullets program that has played in eight semifinals.
"It's our first time in this situation," Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene said. "This team's never made a NCAA tournament before. This is the first time we've ever been in a semifinal game. They've been there before."
The loss was a drastic reversal of the regular-season meeting between these two teams March 4 when the Mustangs won easily, 16-6. Unlike that contest when Stevenson turned a 2-1 deficit into an 11-2 advantage and chased out Gettysburg goalie Zach Furshman, the Mustangs never led Sunday.
Stevenson took 41 shots, but just 16 in the first half. The Mustangs put just 22 shots on net after peppering the Bullets with 26 of 44 shots on goal (59.1 percent) in the first game.
"We never really got into a rhythm," said junior attackman Richie Ford, who had a goal and an assist. "We weren't moving the ball as well as we could have, and just never really got things going."
The other part of that equation was the play of Furshman, who finished with a season-high 15 saves - just one shy of his career best. He opened the third quarter by turning away five consecutive Stevenson shots before senior midfielder Chris Baldwin got one past him with 4:33 left in the period.
"It did feel really good to make a lot of saves that I needed to make and then get it to our offense to finish it off on the other end," said Furshman, whose older brother Greg is a starting midfielder for the Mustangs.
That offense was led by midfielders Kyle McGrath and Danno Lynch, who scored three goals each and McGrath assisted two others. In the first meeting, that duo had combined for just one goal.
"Those three guys were the difference in this game," Cantabene said of Furshman, McGrath and Lynch. "They really played well, and we didn't have an answer for McGrath today. Usually we have an answer, but we didn't today."
Gettysburg (16-3), which tied a school record with its 14th straight win, advanced to its third championship final, but only its first since 2002. The Bullets will meet Cortland State - which routed Middlebury, 16-8 - next Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
Notes: : Greg Furshman, who won nine of 12 faceoffs, had some parting words for his brother after the game. "I told him he better win a national championship or I'll kick his [butt]." ... The Mustangs, who had converted 33 percent of their man-up opportunities this season, scored just once on six extra-man situations Sunday.