Defense leads the way as Salisbury advances to the semifinals

Defense leads the way as Salisbury advances to the semifinals

SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 7 Salisbury University men's lacrosse team squared off against No. 9 Dickinson College in a thrilling NCAA quarterfinal match up on Wednesday night at Sea Gull Stadium. The Sea Gulls picked up a hard fought, 9-7, victory over the Red Devils, earning the right to advance to the NCAA semifinals.

Salisbury (19-3) earned the victory behind a strong defensive effort, anchored by senior defenseman Kyle Tucker, who posted a team-high and career-high seven caused turnovers while also posting a team-best six groundballs. As a unit, the defense forced Dickinson (18-4) into 19 turnovers while causing 12 of them. It is the 14th time in 22 games this season that the Sea Gulls have managed to cause double-digit turnovers.

Griffin Moroney continued his solid playoff performance netting his 10th goal during the postseason and seventh in the NCAA tournament alone, getting Salisbury on the board less than two minutes into the contest. Moroney finished off a pass from Pierre Armstrong to give the Sea Gulls the early 1-0 lead. Parker Stevens added to the Salisbury goal count netting his third of the season, going coast-to-coast off a Dickinson turnover and firing it between Red Devil goalie Cole Pellicano's legs, to give the maroon and gold a 2-0 lead after the opening frame.

The Sea Gull offense continued to click as both Corey Gwin and Jarrett Bromwell netted markers to give the Gulls a 4-0 lead. The Red Devils broke through the Salisbury defense, after being held scoreless for slightly over 28 minutes of game time, netting their first marker of the game at the 1:53 mark of the second quarter. Zach Pompea responded with his lone tally of the night to give the Gulls a 5-1 lead heading into the locker room.

The Red Devils mounted a rally in the third frame netting three goals, two of which came in the opening four minutes of the quarter but Salisbury's game-high goal scorer, Austin Short, netted two of the final four goals scored in the quarter to push the home team's advantage to 8-4 heading into the final frame.

Garrett Reynolds pushed Salisbury's lead to its largest of the game at five when he finished off a great unassisted effort at the 11:15 mark of the fourth to give Salisbury a 9-4 lead. However, Dickinson didn't go away quietly, netting three straight goals in a three-minute span to cut the deficit to just two with under three minutes to play.

The Salisbury defense made two stands in the final two minutes as it forced Dickinson's 19th turnover of the contest before Brandon Warren tallied his 10th save of the game denying the Red Devils' Brodie Phillips on the door step with 49 seconds left to play.

With the win Salisbury will advance to the NCAA semifinal round this weekend and will take on familiar opponent Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It will be the second meeting between the programs this season, with the Bullets claiming the first contest, 11-10 in double overtime. It will also be the second time in the last three years that the Bullets and Sea Gulls have squared off in the NCAA semifinal round with the last time coming back in 2016 in Salisbury, Maryland.

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