Two Conference Titles | Two NCAA Tournament Appearances | One Academic All-American | One All-American

@CentreMensLax Advances to SAA Title Game with 9-6 Win over Berry

@CentreMensLax Advances to SAA Title Game with 9-6 Win over Berry

SEWANEE, Tenn. (CentreColonels.com) – The second-seeded Centre men's lacrosse team punched its ticket to the 2016 Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Tournament Championship on Sunday afternoon following a 9-6 semifinal victory over third-seeded Berry on Friday night at Hardee-McGee Field in Sewanee, Tenn.

The Colonels, who improved to 11-4 with the triumph, will face off with top-seeded Sewanee in the title game on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT. The Tigers extended their winning streak to eight games with an 11-4 win over fourth-seeded Birmingham Southern on Friday evening. Berry closes the 2016 campaign at 8-9.

Centre jumped out a 3-0 lead in the first quarter with goals by senior midfielder Matt Hughes (Vero Beach, Fla.), senior attackman Seth Gray (Louisville, Ky.) and junior midfielder Austin Zehnder (Prospect, Ky.).

Berry answered with two goals in the final 1:16 of the first quarter to shrink the Colonels' lead to 3-2 after the first period.

The Vikings carried that momentum into the second quarter, netting two more goals within the first minute of action to gain a 4-3 advantage with 14:02 remaining in the half.

Centre would respond with a pair of goals to retake a 5-4 lead, the first score coming from senior attackman Conor Bennett (Alphretta, Ga.) off the assist by Zehnder, before senior attackman Joe Lencewicz found the back of the net off the assist by Bennett.

Berry's Stephen Galloway capitalized on a man-up opportunity with a goal with just under six minutes to play in the half to even the score at 5-5. Under a minute later, Gray scored his second goal of the night, this time off the assist by Zehnder to give Centre a 6-5 advantage heading into the break.

The Colonels would outscore the Vikings 3-1 in the second half, as Bennett and junior midfielder Lorenzo Powell (Newcastle, Wash.) each found the back of the net in the third quarter, before Gray found Hughes for his second score of the night in the fourth quarter.

Gray and Bennett each finished with a pair of goals and an assist on the night, while Zehnder tallied a goal, two assists and three ground balls. Gray also picked up a team-high four ground balls for the Colonels.

Centre goaltender Samuel Long (Cincinnati, Ohio) recorded 11 saves for the Colonels.

Centre outshot Berry 43-35 in the win and held a 33-24 advantage in ground balls.

The Colonels are seeking their second SAA Tournament title in the last three seasons. Centre topped Sewanee 11-10 in the SAA final in Tennessee.