Hawks end first NCAA Tournament appearance at Rhodes

Hawks end first NCAA Tournament appearance at Rhodes

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Huntingdon men's lacrosse team's first appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament ended with a 14-1 loss to Rhodes College on Wednesday.

Huntingdon (16-3) trailed 2-0 with seven minutes to play in the first half. But Rhodes (14-2) scored four goals in the final 6:53 of the second quarter and added three goals in the first five minutes of the third quarter to take a 9-0 lead.

Huntingdon senior Kendrick Ballard scored Huntingdon's goal with 6:55 left in the third quarter. Ballard ends his career as the Hawks' third all-time leading goal scorer with 113 and is third in program history with 129 career points.

Zach Barnhill and Tyler Keiser each had four ground balls for Huntingdon. Keiser also had three caused turnovers and was 3-for-4 on faceoffs. Goalie Matt Murphy finished with a career-high 22 saves in 36 shots on goal. Murphy had nine saves in the third quarter.

"We're disappointed with today's outcome but this was a special team and a special season," Huntingdon head coach Andrew Carey said. "There are a lot of players that came before this season who worked hard to help develop our program and this year's team continued to build off of that foundation.

"We accomplished a lot this season. We had a good group of seniors who helped set the tone and provided leadership. The majority of our players will be returning next season and that bodes well for the future. I feel like if we continue to work, we're only going to get better and that is exciting."

Wednesday's loss marked the end of the most successful season in the history of the seventh-year Huntingdon program. In addition to reaching the postseason for the first time, the Hawks set the program record for wins (16), were undefeated in conference play and won the inaugural USA South Athletic Conference Tournament championship. In the process, Huntingdon put together a program-record six-game winning streak to open the season and tied the mark with another six-game winning streak late in the season.