SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 1 Salisbury University men’s lacrosse team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III tournament on Saturday after a 12-4 victory over Goucher College.
With the win, the Sea Gulls, who came into the game having never lost to the Gophers, increased their all-time record to 23-0 over the program.
“I think it was a solid performance,” Salisbury Head Coach Jim Berkman said. “The defense shut them down, holding the team to one goal at halftime.” The Sea Gull defense dominated the game allowing only four goals total, causing 17 turnovers and picking up 39 ground balls to Goucher’s 23.
Salisbury jumped out to an early lead with three goals in the first quarter. Senior attackman Tony Mendes netted the game’s first goal at the 9:25 mark of the period. Senior midfielder Cory Nowak added the team’s second score before sophomore attackman Rhett DePol flicked an off-balance, behind-the-back shot past the Gopher’s goalkeeper with 27 seconds left in the period to give Salisbury the 3-0 lead going into the second quarter.
Senior attackmen Erik Krum and Lantz Carter and junior midfielder Ryan Clarke all got their names into the scoring column with goals in the second quarter. Goucher’s Kyle Boncaro netted his team’s first goal to start the period before Krum and Carter ripped off two scores within one minute of one another. After Clarke’s tally, the Gulls took a 6-1 lead into the half.
Salisbury dominated play in the first half winning 6-of-8 faceoffs, outshooting the Gopher’s 18-9 and converting on 5-of-7 clears. For the game, the Sea Gulls dominated at the X winning 14-of-18 faceoffs.
The Gophers entered the contest as one of the better man-up teams in the nation, converting 40 percent of their tries (11th in the country). The Salisbury defense denied all four first-half man-up chances, and Goucher was 0-for-6 on the night.
“We had a pretty good read on them,” Berkman said. “We had four or five game films of them and I had seen them play in person. They had three or four plays set that they really looked for and some guys that they definitely looked for and we took those things away.”
The first goal of the third quarter did not come until the 6:54 mark as Clarke netted his second goal to end a Salisbury scoring drought that started with 9:45 left in the second quarter and lasted 17:51.
Senior attackman Matt Cannone, who led the Gulls with three goals, added his first in the third quarter to give Salisbury an 8-2 leading going into the fourth. Cannone and Mendes both had four points to lead the team in the game.
Salisbury added four more goals in the fourth quarter to cap off the game. Cannone netted two while Mendes and senior midfielder Sam Bradman added one each. Salisbury had eight different players find the back of the net in the game.
“It was good to see a couple other guys score,” Berkman said. “Lantz Carter had a big goal and the first midfield got one or two each. Guys stepped up when they got their opportunities.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Alex Taylor picked up his first NCAA tournament win, playing over 58 minutes in the cage while making 10 saves.
Salisbury moves on to host Cabrini College on Wednesday at Sea Gull Stadium for a NCAA quarterfinal game; the game time is to be announced.