Salisbury back in Division III final

Defending champ gets rematch with Middlebury

Men's College Lacrosse

May 22, 2000|By Sam Atkinson | Sam Atkinson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SALISBURY - It will be a return trip to Byrd Stadium in College Park for the top-ranked Salisbury State University men's lacrosse team, which defeated fourth-ranked Washington & Lee, 10-9, in an NCAA Division III semifinal game.

The back-and-forth game - which had eight lead changes - ended when freshman Craig Rhodey (Calvert Hall) beat Generals goalkeeper Wes Hays (Loyola) on his off-stick hand up high for the eventual game-winner with 6:17 left in the fourth quarter."The ball came swinging around, and I was wide-open from 8 yards and I fired it left," Rhodey said.

The Generals (16-2) controlled the ball for the final 1:50 and fired multiple shots on sophomore goalkeeper Pat Tewes (Severna Park). Senior Chris Brown (Towson) had a final chance to tie the game with another goal on the doorstep, but was stuffed by the Sea Gulls defense as the horn sounded."We had our chances. Our kids expected to win, like you would think they would, but this was a huge step for us," Washington & Lee coach Jim Stagnitta said. "We worked our way into being legitimately one of the top four teams in the country.""The last couple of minutes was all heart," Salisbury State defenseman Hirbod Azmi said. "This is my senior year, and I want to go out on top. I have been looking forward to this all year."

The Sea Gulls (17-1) will defend their 1999 national championship against fifth-ranked Middlebury (14-1) Sunday at noon in a rematch of last year's title game. The Panthers advanced to the finals with a 13-8 semifinal road victory over previously undefeated Nazareth College.

Salisbury State, making its fifth appearance in the title game, is 3-0 in championship games at Byrd Stadium."It's an honor to go back to Byrd. It has been a goal all year, the greatest thing in the lacrosse world is to go to Byrd Stadium," Salisbury State head coach Jim Berkman said. "We would like to make it 4-0."

Washington & Lee came in the underdog, but stuck to its game plan, which helped it beat Gettysburg to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 1987."Everybody in the lacrosse world, I'm sure, thought we were the underdogs except for the 35 guys on this team," Washington & Lee midfielder Pope Hackney said. "If we didn't think we could of won this game, we wouldn't of come in here and played."

Sea Gulls midfielder Tim Parks (John Carroll) scored the first goal midway through the first quarter, but the Generals answered with two quick goals from Hackney and Colin Dougherty (Loyola). W&L led 3-2 after the first quarter, and the teams went into halftime tied at 5."We made some good runs in the first half, and they answered every time," Berkman said. "We were fortunate to come back out [of halftime] and go ahead because they started the quarter a man-up. Our man-down defense got the game ball today."

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