Salisbury set to defend national titles at Haverford in NCAA tournament

Salisbury set to defend national titles at Haverford in NCAA tournament

INDIANAPOLIS - The fifth-ranked Salisbury University men's lacrosse team will hit the road in the 2009 NCAA Division III tournament as the two-time national champions travel to No. 8 Haverford College on Saturday, May 9, for a second round game at Swan Field. No official game time has been announced at this time. The two teams received first round byes as the full 22-team field was released late Sunday night.

Salisbury (15-3), the eight-time national champions, was the first team to lock up a spot in this year's tournament when the Sea Gulls won their 15th consecutive Capital Athletic Conference crown. The Sea Gulls beat former No. 1 Stevenson University, 13-5, on April 19 to receive the automatic bid.

SU will make its NCAA record 21 consecutive tournament appearance, 27th overall since the Division III tournament began 30 years ago. The Sea Gulls made four appearances in the Division II/III tournament in the 1970's. Salisbury sports a 45-18 (.714 winning percentage) record in 27 appearances in the Division III tournament. SU won Division III national championships in 1994, '95, '99, 2003, '04, '05, '07 and '08. Salisbury has reached the national championship game the past six seasons.

This will mark Salisbury's first road, non-neutral site, NCAA tournament game since the 2002 season. The Sea Gulls lost 7-5 to Gettysburg College on the road in the national quarterfinals on May 12, 2002. Salisbury's last NCAA tournament road victory came against Hampden-Sydney College during the same season as the Sea Gulls won 15-8 on May 8, 2002.

Haverford (13-3) will make its second NCAA tournament appearance as the Fords were a part of last year's field where they lost to Cabrini College, 13-10, on the road in the second round. The Fords won the Centennial Conference regular-season crown before they lost to Gettysburg College, 12-5, in the conference title game on Sunday, May 3. Haverford received one of the five Pool C bids.

Salisbury and Haverford share two common opponents in Gettysburg and Washington (Md.) College. SU lost 11-10 to the Bullets at home and won 12-11 on the road against the Shoremen in the regular season. Haverford split its two games with Gettysburg as the Fords took the first meeting 8-4. Haverford also beat Washington, 8-5.

The winner between Salisbury-Haverford will advance to the national quarterfinals and face the winner between Stevenson (15-1) and either Cabrini (14-3) or Montclair State University (13-4) on Wednesday, May 13.

The bottom half of the South region bracket features familiar faces in Roanoke College (17-1), Denison University (12-2), Ohio Wesleyan University (10-4), Gettysburg College (13-3), Washington & Lee University (15-3) and FDU-Florham (13-4).

SUNY Cortland (15-2) is the top seed in the North region as the Red Dragons receive a first round bye along with Tufts University (13-4), Western New England College (16-2), Middlebury College (13-2) and Wesleyan College (14-3). Salisbury and SUNY Cortland have met in the past three national championship games as the Sea Gulls have won the past two titles.

The national semifinals will be held on Sunday, May 17, with the national championship game a week later back in Foxborough, Mass., in Gillette Stadium on Sunday, May 24.

2009 NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Tournament

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