SALISBURY, Md. – No. 1-ranked Salisbury scored four third-quarter goals while Alex Taylor totaled 19 saves as the Sea Gulls advanced to their 14th national championship game with a 7-2 victory over fifth-ranked Stevenson Sunday in the semifinals of the 2012 NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championship at Sea Gull Stadium.
The Mustangs (18-5) finish the season one win shy of the school record for wins in a season set in 2010 while making their third semifinal appearances in four NCAA tournament berths from 2009-12.
Sunday marked the 14th all-time meeting between the two schools and the third in the NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championship.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the first quarter despite Salisbury holding a 12-3 advantage in shots. Senior Ian
Bolland (Mountain Lakes, N.J./Mountain Lakes) made four first-quarter saves.
The game remained scoreless until the Sea Gulls’ Lantz Carter scored unassisted with 3:46 remaining in the second quarter. The goal was the first allowed by either team in the series in a span of 36:20 since Salisbury’s Sam Bradman scored with 10:06 left in the fourth quarter of the CAC championship game on April 28.
That would be the only goal of the half despite the two teams combining for 35 shots. Bolland had seven first-half saves while Taylor finished with nine.
Cory Nowak scored the first of his two goals with 8:09 to play in the third quarter which sparked a three-goal run by the Sea Gulls who led 4-0 with 5:40 remaining in the quarter when Nowak netted his second off an assist from Bradman.
Nowak and Bradman accounted for all three goals in a span of 2:29 as Bradman scored the first of his two goals at 6:59.
Freshman Michael Crowe (Arlington, Va./Yorktown) got Stevenson on the board with 4:34 left in the third quarter before Bradman answered less than a minute later give Salisbury a 5-1 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Taylor stopped seven of 12 Mustang shots in the third quarter.
After being outshot by nine in the opening quarter, Stevenson held a 38-23 advantage over the final three quarters, but could muster just
two goals as Taylor totaled 17 of his 19 saves.
The Mustangs also held a 39-31 edge in ground balls while the two teams were statistically even in face-offs won, turnovers and clears.
In addition to Taylor, the biggest difference came on the extra-man where Stevenson was 0-for-6.
Junior Peter Green (Hereford, Md./Hereford) had five ground balls and two caused turnovers while junior Parker Bratton (Baltimore,
Md./McDonogh) had two caused turnovers.
Bradman totaled two goals and one assist to lead the Sea Gulls while Nowak and Matt Cannone each had two points.
The loss concludes the careers of 10 seniors on the Mustang roster. Over the last four years, the senior class was responsible for a
record 72 wins, posting a 72-12 record for an .857 winning percentage. The team also made four NCAA Tournament appearances during that time and advanced to three national semifinals.