SALISBURY, Md. – Host #2 Salisbury used a 11-2 run from late in the first quarter to the fourth quarter to turn a 3-0 deficit into an 11-5 lead en route to a 13-8 victory over at Sea Gull Stadium in a NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Tournament Semifinal game on Sunday evening in front of 2,375 fans. The Sea Gulls improve to 21-1 with the victory, while the Shoremen conclude their season at 18-2.
The Shoremen scored the game’s opening goal just 58 seconds into the contest when senior midfielder Hunter Nowicki (Baltimore, Md./Franklin) scored unassisted from the right side. Washington made it 2-0 with 8:47 left in the first quarter when sophomore midfielder Sid Looney (Westhampton, N.Y./Westhampton) drove in from the left side and put in a bounce shot from five yards out. Nowicki scored his second goal of the first quarter with 7:21 remaining to put the Shoremen ahead by three. Salisbury got onto the board when Rhett DePol scored from the left side with eight seconds left to trim the WC lead to 3-1.
Salisbury used a 5-2 second quarter to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 6-5 lead at halftime. The Sea Gulls trimmed the lead to 3-2 just 44 seconds into the quarter on a man-up goal by Sean Fitzgerald from the right side after he faked the original shot and bounced it in. DePol evened the game with 11:56 to go in the second from the left side right in front of the crease after he faked high and went low. Nowicki gave the Shoremen the lead back with 9:56 to go in the second from about 12 yards out down the middle into the left side of the net. Fitzgerald evened the game up again at 4-4 when his shot from the left side found the upper right corner of the goal with 8:01 left in the first half and Adam Stork gave Salisbury its first lead of the night 70 seconds later at 5-4 on a bounce shot from the left side. The Stork tally also put Salisbury up for the rest of the night. The Sea Gulls scored a man-up score with 4:37 left when Luke Phipps scored from five yards out on the right side from DePol to give Salisbury a 6-4 lead. Washington took advantage of a man-up situation with 35 seconds left when sophomore attackman Casey Kermes (State College, Pa./Northfield Mount Herman (Mass.) scored from Looney from the left side to reduce the Salisbury lead to 6-5. Salisbury had one last chance to make it 7-5 following a caused turnover by DePol, but DePol was ruled to be in the crease and the goal was ruled no good and the Sea Gulls took a 6-5 lead into halftime.
The Sea Gulls made it 7-5 just 2:01 into the third quarter when Fitzgerald scored on a man-up situation from the right side with Donovan Lange tallying the assist. Mike Kane made it 8-5 with 11:29 left in the third quarter on a shot from the left side on a feed from Fitzgerald. Greg Korvin made it 9-5 with 5:27 remaining in the third when he drove down the middle and bounced a shot into the left side and the Sea Gulls would take a four-goal advantage into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Salisbury made it 10-5 with 12:52 left on a Fitzgerald goal from in front of the crease on the left side from Korvin. Stork made it 11-5 with 10:56 to go in the quarter from the right side on a pass from Thomas Cirillo. The Shoremen scored their first goal since late in the second quarter when Kermes scored from the left side off of a feed from Looney as the pair connected for the second time in the game with 9:27 to go to cut the lead to 11-6 and ended a 5-0 Sea Gull run. Salisbury made it 12-6 with 6:32 left in the contest when Kane was able to grab a loose ball off of a rebound and put it into the cage from the left side in front of the crease. The Kermes-Looney connection worked again with 3:14 to go when Kermes scored from the left side with Looney tallying the helper to trim the lead to 12-7. Salisbury made it 13-7 with 2:22 left on a Kane score with Cirillo picking up the assist. Looney tallied his fifth point of the night and second goal with 39 ticks left to trim the lead to 13-8.
For Salisbury, Fitzgerald had a team-best four points on three goals and one assist and scooped up a team-high five groundballs. Kane had three goals and DePol had three points on two goals and a helper. Tallying two goals were Phipps and Stork, while Cirillo had a pair of assists. Korvin had two points on a goal and an assist. In goal, Alex Taylor made eight saves as he played the first 57:59 of the game.
Looney had a game-best five points on a contest-high three helpers to go along with two goals. Kermes and Nowicki tied Fitzgerald and Kane for tops in the game with three scores. All of Looney’s three helpers were on goals by Kermes. Junior midfielder Michael Trapp (White Plains, N.Y./White Plains) won 15-of-22 face-offs to lead all players and scooped up 10 ground balls to lead all participants. In net, senior goalkeeper Ted DiSalvo (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River) made nine saves.
Salisbury held a 37-33 edge in shots and went 18-for-20 in clears, while WC was 11-for-15. WC held a 30-28 edge in ground balls and won 16 of the contest’s 23 face-offs. The Sea Gulls went 3-for-6 on the man-up, while holding the Shoremen to one goal in seven man-up chances. The Shoremen turned it over 18 times; while the Sea Gulls coughed it up just 12 times.
The 18-2 (.900) mark for Washington this season was the team’s most successful season in terms of winning percentage since going 11-1 (.917) in 1967. The 18 victories ties the 2004 team for the most wins in a season as that team went 18-3 and that was the last WC squad to reach the semifinal round where they lost 13-11 to Salisbury.
It was the 11th all-time meeting in the NCAA Tournament for the Shoremen and the Sea Gulls with WC now leading 6-5. Washington won in 1983, 1984, 1986, 1993, 1996 and 1998; while Salisbury won in 1994, 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2014.
Salisbury will play Tufts next Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium for the Division III Championship as Tufts (20-2) downed host Rochester Institute of Technology (20-1) by a 21-11 score earlier today in Rochester, N.Y.
Tonight marked the final game in a Washington uniform for nine seniors. The seniors were DiSalvo, Nowicki, long stick midfielder Michael Baker(Meridian, Idaho/Meridian), attackman JD Campbell (Baltimore, Md./Mount St. Joseph), attackman Jim Cusick (Fallston, Md./Calvert Hall), midfielder Kodie Englehart (Coronado, Calif./Coronado), defenseman Casey McKnight (Ridgefield, Conn./Ridgefield) midfielder Ryan Polak(Cincinnati, Ohio/Ridgewood (N.J.), defenseman Stephen Pappas (Ocean City, Md./Worcester Prep).