In a national semifinal showdown at Sea Gull Stadium on Sunday night, the third-ranked Salisbury University men’s lacrosse team asserted its will on No. 5 Gettysburg College and defeated the Bullets, 14-6, to advance to the NCAA Division III national championship game.
“We are very fortunate and very excited to be heading to the championship” Head Coach Jim Berkman said. “I am proud of all 50 guys for enduring what is a long season and putting us in position to hopefully win our 11th national championship.”
Salisbury controlled every part of the game, scoring 14 goals on a team that lets up less than six per game on average, while holding an offense that clicks at over an 11-goals-per-game mark to just six tallies.
The Sea Gulls opened up the scoring two and a half minutes in as Brendan Bromwell dodged from his midfield position and rifled a pass to Nathan Blondino, who received the pass slightly below goal-line extended and took the extra step to increase his angle before putting it up top for the goal.
Salisbury struck again soon after as there was a flag down on Gettysburg and Bromwell took a hard shot that the keeper stopped but left the groundball in front for Carson Kalama, who scooped up the loose ball before burying it.
On the day, the Bullets were charged with nine penalties for a total of 8:30 minutes and the Gulls took advantage, going 5-for-8 on the man up.
Gettysburg got on the board with 10 minutes left in the half, but James Burton responded a minute later to close out the scoring for the opening quarter.
Jameson Smith got things going just 42 seconds into the second quarter, however, a Burton goal with 10:12 left in the quarter started a 7-1 run for Salisbury that broke open the lead and kept it out of reach.
The 7-1 run stretched into the third quarter and featured three man-up goals for Salisbury. Jake Rotman, T.J. Logue, and Kalama all added second quarter goals, with Kalama’s eventually counting as the game winner.
The goal for Logue was his second of the season and happened as Aaron Leeds scooped up the ball in Salisbury’s defensive end and handled the clear himself before flipping an underhand pass over to Logue who put it top shelf from 12 yard out.
Logue’s impact on the game reached far beyond his offensive capabilities however. The freshman faceoff man finished the day with 16 wins in 17 attempts at the X as he also scooped up six groundballs.
When asked about his succes on the day, Logue gave all the praise to the support system around him. “All I did was do what I’ve been told (by the coaching staff) and let the wings do their job,” he said.
Bringing an end to the Gulls’ 7-1 run, Blondino, Burton, and Kalama all scored as the trio combined for 12 goals. Kalama ended with five goals and one assist, Burton with three goals and two assists, and Blondino ended with four goals and one assist.
Tommy Heller got one for the Bullets with 1:03 left in the third, but the Gulls started the fourth with four-straight markers.
Gettysburg scored the game’s last two goals to bring the score to 14-6 and bring an end the Bullets’ impressive season with a 17-3 record.
With the faceoff domination, the wings played a large part, as usual, with Andrew Ternahan and Davis Anderson both having great days.
Ternahan moved his season groundball total to 102 with an eight-groundball outing, while Anderson had five groundballs and two caused turnovers.
Colin Reymann got the start for Salisbury in net and stopped nine shots, while only conceding five goals, good for a .643 save percentage.
The defense in front of Reymann was stellar all day, allowing just 24 shots, including just three in the third quarter to close it out.
The first midfield line of Smith, Mike Distler, and Paul Werner for Gettysburg all came into the game with over 50 points (over 2.5 points per game), but the defensive midfield, including a wrinkle from the coaching staff that had close defender Will Nowesnick up top, held the all-senior line to a combined three goals and two assists.
Salisbury controlled every facet of the game throughout as it got more groundballs (46-19), shots (36-24), and faceoff wins (19-3).
Salisbury now advances to the national championship game on Sunday and will take on Tufts University at 1 p.m., at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.