In heat, Salisbury rises to top

Tourney MVP Smith's 4 points lift Gulls to Division III crown, 13-6

May 31, 1999|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- When the Salisbury State men's lacrosse team is playing, be advised that you shouldn't blink or you might miss the fireworks.

The No. 3 Sea Gulls sprinted to a five-goal halftime advantage against fifth-ranked Middlebury and refused to slow down in the sweltering heat, cruising to a 13-6 victory in the finals of the Division III championship at Byrd Stadium yesterday.

Senior attackman Brian Smith was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player for scoring three goals and adding an assist. Junior midfielder Joe High of Phoenix and senior attackman Peter Troup each contributed two goals and an assist.

"It's a great feeling to win in front of your family and friends," said High, a Dulaney graduate. "A lot of people I know came down to watch us, and it means a lot to win this championship in front of them."

The national crown is Salisbury State's third in four tries this decade, and all three wins unfolded at Byrd Stadium.

"This one's a special one because it's a new era," said 11th-year coach Jim Berkman, who also won in 1994 and 1995. "No one on this team played on either one of those two teams. So nobody's ever had a touch of the championship game."

The Sea Gulls improved to 18-1, breaking the previous school mark of 17 wins in one season. Salisbury State limited 16 of its 19 opponents to less than 10 goals.

Middlebury (15-2) was led by senior attackman Adam Pascal, whose one goal and two assists set a record for points (24) in an NCAA tournament.

"I don't take much satisfaction in that at all," Pascal said. "I'll probably come to [a future] tournament and see if my name's still in the book, but there's not much satisfaction because personal success can only take you so far."

Salisbury State didn't wait long to test the Panthers in the near 90-degree heat. Junior midfielder Chris Turner (Arundel) curled around the left post and beat Middlebury junior goalkeeper Dave Campbell (17 saves) to take a 1-0 lead with 88 seconds gone in the first quarter.

Less than three minutes later, Smith drew two Panthers defenders behind the net and fed a wide-open High in front of Campbell for a 2-0 Sea Gulls advantage.

Troup scored two goals over a 1: 23 span to give Salisbury State a 4-0 lead with 2: 56 left in the first quarter.

Middlebury didn't fire a shot on Salisbury State senior goalie Jason Tarnow (a season-high 19 saves) until almost five minutes had elapsed.

Freshman attackman Zach Herbert put the ball past Tarnow when he picked up a rebound near the right post, firing it into the top-left corner with 1: 56 left in the quarter.

But the Panthers couldn't muster much more, as they suffered from sloppy passing and some bruising body checks by the Sea Gulls.

"We thought that we could attack their short sticks because of the physical matchup," Berkman said, alluding to his starting offensive unit, which boasts five players at least 6 feet and 185 pounds. "We wanted to draw the slides, make a pass and the second pass, go inside we took advantage a little bit of their impatience."

Salisbury State continued its relentless play in the second quarter, scoring three goals before Pascal answered with seven seconds left to make it a 7-2 game at the half.

The teams traded two goals each in the third quarter. Middlebury senior attack Jon-Erik Borgen beat Tarnow with 9: 01 left in the game to cut the lead to four, but the Sea Gulls went on a 6-1 run to clinch the title.

Berkman sent in junior John Dodson with 67 seconds left to replace Tarnow, who left Michigan State in 1997 after the school had eliminated its men's lacrosse program.

"I thought that was the end of the world at the time," Tarnow recalled. "But that was long ago. I can't really be happier to finish out this chapter in my life next to these guys."

Smith, who was flagged twice for excessive celebrating -- including one with three seconds left -- didn't give too much thought to the penalties.

"I'm on ESPN2," he said, referring to the network's taping of the game, which will air at 3: 30 p.m. today. "I have to get on camera somehow."

Middlebury 1 1 2 6 -- 6

Salisbury 4 3 2 4 -- 13

Goals: M--Hopkins 2, Borgen, Herbert, Pascal, Seeley; S--Smith 3, High 2, Troup 2, Bergey, Bray, DiPaola, Fox, Parks, Turner. Assists: M--Pascal 2, Borgen; S--Bergey 2, Azmi, Bray, High, Smith, Troup. Saves: M--Campbell 17; S--Tarnow 19. Half: S 7-2.

NCAA lacrosse

Men's final four

At College Park

Today's Div. I Championship

Syracuse (12-4) vs.

Virginia (12-3), 10: 55 a.m. TV: ESPN


Cost is $15. Tickets can be purchased by calling 800-462-8377.

Pub Date: 5/31/99

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