SALISBURY -- The visitors' locker room at Sea Gull Stadium hasn't been a festive place in recent years following a Salisbury State lacrosse game, but it was the place to be yesterday after No. 6 Washington College stunned the top-ranked Sea Gulls, 11-10, in the semifinal round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Washington College stopped Salisbury State's winning streak at 47 games and ended the Sea Gulls' bid for a third consecutive national title before a crowd of 933. The Shoremen will advance to next Sunday's national championship game at College Park, where they will face the winner of today's matchup between Ohio Wesleyan and Nazareth.
"We feel fortunate that we were able to beat probably the best team in college lacrosse in Division III," said Shoremen coach John Haus, whose team lost to Salisbury, 23-11, less than a month ago in Chestertown.
"We're awfully young and we only have a handful of seniors, and quite honestly I don't think they knew what they were getting into today. They went out, played hard and it seemed to work out for us."
Salisbury State (14-1) got off 59 shots against the Shoremen's packed-in zone defense and 20 of those were turned away by goalie Andy Taibl, a sophomore who will spend his 20th birthday trying to help Washington win its first Division III championship.
"The coaches implemented some great defensive strategies and it seemed to knock Salisbury out of its rhythm," said Taibl, whose 20 saves last week helped the Shoremen end Middlebury's 22-game winning streak. "Salisbury likes to run and we didn't let them and they weren't able to get as many quality shots off. At halftime, we knew the changes we made on offense and defense had been successful and they were struggling and we had to stay with it."
Washington College (13-4), which won the Centennial Conference in its first year in the league, opened the fourth quarter with three straight goals and led 9-7 after a one-handed shot by Bart Jaeger (three goals, one assist).
The score went to 10-8 when Washington's Andrew Neville contributed his only goal of the game with 2: 46 remaining but Salisbury defenseman Chris McQueeney answered 21 seconds later with an unassisted goal.
Sophomore attackman Michael Wilson, a product of St. Mary's in Annapolis, scored what proved to be the back-breaker with 1: 05 left that made it 11-9. Jake Bergey's third goal of the game came with 39 seconds left and brought Salisbury to within one, but the Sea Gulls again were turned away by Taibl on their final possession.
"Possession is nine-tenths of the law and we had possession for a long time and we didn't score," said Salisbury coach Jim Berkman, whose team had last lost to Washington in the 1993 NCAA quarterfinals.
"Our seniors have created a lot of excitement at Sea Gull Stadium over the past four years but it just goes to show, if you don't come to play every day and you come up against a hot goaltender, you can get beat once in a while."
Pub Date: 5/19/96