Salisbury returns to CAC championship game, beat St. Mary's on the road
ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. - For the first time in program history the Salisbury University men's lacrosse team found themselves in unfamiliar territory on Thursday afternoon as the third-seed Sea Gulls played their first-ever Capital Athletic Conference tournament game on the road. The Sea Gulls did not disappoint as they enacted revenge against second-seed St. Mary's (Md.) College with an 18-5 win in the CAC semifinal round. The Seahawks handed Salisbury an 11-10 loss last Friday (April 10) as SMC scored a last second goal to beat the Sea Gulls for the first time since 1977.
Salisbury (13-3), who is ranked 10th in the nation, will travel to Owings Mills, Md., on Sunday, April 19, to face top-ranked and top-seed Stevenson University in the conference championship. The Sea Gulls have won every CAC title, 14 straight, since they joined the conference in 1995. On the line Sunday will be an automatic bid into next month's NCAA Division III tournament. Salisbury, the two-time defending national champions, lost 12-8 against Stevenson at home on April 4. Stevenson (14-0) defeated fourth-seed Wesley College (10-5) by 15 goals, 19-4, in the other CAC semifinal on Thursday.
Salisbury junior attackman Jake DeLillo established a new career-high for goals scored with five against the Seahawks. The Yorktown Heights, N.Y., native also matched his previous career-high with six points as he added one assist for SU. Senior All-American Kylor Berkman had a huge game as the reigning Division III National Player and Midfielder of the Year scored two goals and passed out a game-high four assists. Berkman was held to three assists last week against St. Mary's. Sophomore Erik Krum continued his strong play against the Seahawks as he scored three goals and had one assist after last week's performance where he scored three goals. Midfielders Patrick Bonanno (one assist) and Mike Von Kamecke each scored twice. Senior Stephen Krasco, junior Mike Winter and freshmen Sam Bradman and Matt Cannone (one assist) each scored one goal apiece. Juniors Matt Cowley, Ryan Finch (15-of-23 face-offs), Kevin Finn, Will Poletis and sophomore Shawn Zordani each registered one assist.
The Sea Gulls scored the game's first two goals and held a 4-1 lead after one quarter of play. SMC scored four times in the second quarter while Salisbury post five goals to take a 9-5 lead into halftime.
SU's defense did a terrific job in the second half as Salisbury held St. Mary's without out a goal. Sophomore goalie Johnny Rodriguez (13-2) made two saves in 52 minutes of work while sophomore Tim Swinburn recorded three saves over the final eight minutes of play. SMC goalie Pat Simpson (eight saves) suffered the loss six days after he stopped 15 shots by Salisbury.
SU outshot the Seahawks 37-21 including 18-11 in the second half. The Gulls scooped up 38 ground balls to SMC's 32. Salisbury was successful on clears 14-of-17 and limited St. Mary's to 12-of-23.
St. Mary's Ryan Alexander led the Seahawks with two goals while reigning CAC Player of the Week Chris Becraft scored one goal and one assist.