Tarnow stifles Denison as Salisbury gains final

Ebullient keeper proves difference for Sea Gulls in 14-7 Division III win

May 23, 1999|By Will Graves | Will Graves,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Salisbury State senior goalkeeper Jason Tarnow acknowledges he's often a little out of control.

Every big save is celebrated with fist-pumping, and every goal allowed is like failing a final exam.

But yesterday afternoon against Denison in the NCAA Division III men's lacrosse semifinals, Tarnow was on, and then some.

His solid play in the first half helped the third-seeded Sea Gulls build a 6-0 halftime lead en route to a 14-7 victory over the seventh-seeded Big Red, sending Salisbury into the national-championship game for the first time since it won it all in 1995.

Salisbury will play the winner of today's semifinal between Middlebury and Rochester Institute of Technology next Sunday at 1 p.m. in College Park for the Division III title.

"It was our best half of the season, defensively," said Tarnow, who stopped all seven Denison shots in the first half, including several from point-blank range. "You have to give credit to my defense. They did a good job of pushing them to the outside, and I just tried to cut off the angles."

Salisbury (17-1) got three goals each from Joe High (Dulaney) and Peter Troup as nine different Sea Gulls scored against Denison keeper Peter Royer (14 saves). Salisbury used a patient offensive attack in its bid to wear down the Big Red midfield.

"We knew they had six great middies, but we were going 12 deep and we wanted to run them down a little bit, make them work on the defensive end," said Salisbury coach Jim Berkman, who will take the Sea Gulls to the national-title game for the fourth time.

"We wanted to deny them the transition goals; hope they'd slow down if we made them work."

Denison (13-3), which upset second-seeded Washington and Lee, 17-7, in the NCAA quarterfinals, appeared weary from the 11-hour trip to Salisbury. The Big Red couldn't manage much of an attack as sloppy stickhandling and poor decision-making allowed the Sea Gulls to control the ball for most of the first half.

Salisbury had a 57-25 advantage on the ground, and won 18 of the game's 25 faceoffs.

"We were a little nervous early and their goalie made some key saves," said Denison coach Mike Caravana, whose team was making its first NCAA semifinals appearance. "We didn't handle the ball well and they were putting some extra pressure on us. We're inexperienced in this type of game and I think it showed up early on."

Salisbury jumped to a 4-0 lead in the game's first 10 minutes. Chris Turner took a feed from Brian Smith (one goal, three assists) and beat Royer from high in the box to make it 4-0 with 4: 23 to play in the first quarter.

The Sea Gulls continued to dominate play in the second quarter, and entered the half with a 6-0 lead when High ran down a Sea Gulls clear and broke in alone on Royer, firing low to the keeper's stick side for his second goal of the game.

"The coaches did a great job getting us prepared for them and what they were going to do," said High. "We were deeper than they were so we wanted to bring in a lot of guys. And when some of us went down, a couple game in and picked us up."

Denison never got closer than five goals in the second half as Salisbury bottled up the Big Red's leading scorers, Sean O'Brien, Ryan Berger and Justin Walker. O'Brien and teammate T.J. King led Denison with two goals apiece, but most of Denison's scores came late, with the outcome already decided.

"I've never been to College Park to play for it all," said Tarnow, who finished with 14 saves. "It's something we've dreamed about, and now we get our chance."

Denison 0 0 4 3 -- 7

Salisbury State 4 2 4 4 -- 14

Goals: D--King 2, O'Brien 2, Minogue, Jones, Pennimpede; S--High 3, Troup 3, Fowler 2, Mackert, Turner, Barnes, Bergey, Smith, Martin. Assists: D--Walters, Berger, Nicholas; Smith 3, Fox, Parks, Azmi, DiPaola, High, Bates, Fowler. Saves: D--Royer 14; S--Tarnow 14.

Pub Date: 5/23/99

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