SALISBURY, Md. – The number seven ranked Salisbury University men's lacrosse team will play in its 20th straight Capital Athletic Conference Championship game on Saturday evening against the second ranked York College of Pennsylvania at 6 p.m.
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How we got here
The second seeded Sea Gulls cruised to a convincing semifinal victory downing the three seeded Captains of Christopher Newport University, 14-3, on Tuesday evening. Salisbury raced out to a 7-1 lead at the break behind Josh Melton's season-high and team-best four goal performance. Melton was just one of four Salisbury players to tally a multi-goal game as Zach Pompea netted his third hat trick in the last five games for the maroon and gold.
The defense was equally as impressive with Brandon Warren leading the way as he recorded 10 saves. Kyle Tucker posted team-high's causing two turnovers while also picking up five groundballs. Overall, the defense caused eight Captains' turnovers while holding the Christopher Newport offense scoreless for nearly 31 minutes of game action.
How they got here
The top seeded Spartans picked up a convincing, 16-8, win over visiting Frostburg State University on Tuesday night. After falling behind 2-0 early in the first quarter York used a 10-1 goal run which included a six-goal second quarter to earn the victory as four different players netted markers in the frame with Matt Whitcher tallying two of his team-best four goals.
Overall, nine different players found the net for the Spartans including two from team leader Thomas Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer also tallied a team-best four assists to the finish the game with another team-high six points.
The last time we met
The last time Salisbury stepped on Kinsley Field in York, Pennsylvania on March 24 it entered the game as the game as the number seven ranked team in the nation and winners of three straight after two losses earlier in the year. The game opened as a defensive bout as the teams went to the locker room deadlocked at three all after the opening 30 minutes of play.
However, after Corey Gwin managed to give the maroon and gold a 4-3 advantage early in the third quarter the Spartans proceeded to net eight goals to take a commanding and seemingly insurmountable 11-5 lead heading into the final frame. York netted four man-up goals in the third quarter including three on a two-minute non-releasable penalty to aid in the victory. Overall, the Spartans tallied 12 second half goals en route to the nine-goal victory.
It was just two years ago that saw one of the more impressive turn arounds from one game to the next between two programs. This time it was Salisbury that cruised to an easy 17-5 victory over the Spartans at York in early April. Just a few weeks later a rematch occurred between the two teams as they met again in the CAC championship game in Salisbury, Maryland. However, it was the Spartans that walked away with the CAC crown as they downed the top ranked Sea Gulls 10-9. Will history repeat itself in favor of the maroon and gold?
Hello my old friend
This will be the fourth time in the last five years and third straight season these two teams have met in the CAC championship. Salisbury holds a 3-1 advantage in the series over the Spartans with the only loss coming in 2016 when York upset Salisbury at Sea Gull Stadium 10-9. However, the Sea Gulls got revenge over their conference rival last season downing the Spartans 15-5 to earn their 20th CAC title. This will be the first year that York enters the championship game as the higher seed and will be seeking its second ever CAC title while Salisbury is chasing its 21st.
Salisbury will await the NCAA selection show on Sunday night to see who it will take on in the 2018 Division III NCAA Lacrosse Tournament opening round. The show begins at 9 p.m. Sunday night with the first round scheduled to start on Tuesday, May 8.