Salisbury's mark: unblemished title

13-9 victory over Nazareth clinches 2nd consecutive Div. III crown, 20-0 season

College Lacrosse

May 31, 2004|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Defending the NCAA Division III men's lacrosse title proved a tad easier for Salisbury University than winning it last year.

After blowing a six-goal halftime lead and finally prevailing on an overtime goal in the 2003 final against Middlebury, the Sea Gulls came out ablaze yesterday, never trailed Nazareth and scored a 13-9 victory at M&T Bank Stadium to capture the school's fifth national championship.

By concluding the season with a 20-0 mark, Salisbury broke the school record for wins and produced its third undefeated national championship team.

"These guys heard about those guys for four years," said Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman, referring to the unbeaten squads of 1994 and '95. "I know they wanted to etch themselves in Sea Gulls history. I'd have to say this is a good as, if not the best team ever at Salisbury University."

"This year, the whole year, we were about going 20-0 and leaving our own mark," said senior attackman Andy Arnold, who paced the offense with four goals and an assist and applied the exclamation point before the crowd of 19,202 with his final goal 20 seconds from the finish.

Nazareth (16-3) fell behind 4-0 in the first 11-plus minutes, and Salisbury maintained its four-goal cushion (at 5-1) through the end of the first quarter by holding decisive advantages in shots (15-3), ground balls (15-7) and faceoffs (5-2).

The Golden Flyers of Rochester, N.Y., spent the rest of the contest playing a futile game of catch-up, although its goalie, 6-foot-4 sophomore Alex Civalier, did a magnificent job of keeping matters from getting out of hand.

Civalier finished with 20 saves, several of them made after shots from point-blank range, to give his team a chance. He was named the game's Most Outstanding Player, becoming only the second Division III player to be so honored from a losing team. (The other, Larry Boehm of Washington College in 1986, was also a goalie.)

"Every time it looked like they had another score, Alex closed the door," said Nazareth coach Rob Randall.

"I got rattled a little in the first quarter," Civalier said, "but after that I was doing whatever I could to make the save. I've got a pretty big body, and I was using it."

The second period belonged to the Golden Flyers, another team with a rich NCAA history and three national crowns. While Sea Gulls goalie Dan Korpon (Severna Park) struggled before turning in a strong second half, Nazareth creeped back to within a goal by halftime on a fast-break score by Bryan Adams with 51 seconds left.

But Salisbury refused to relinquish the lead and, by the fourth quarter, slowly but surely pulled away.

The faceoff domination of Bryan Bradford (Fallston), and the Sea Gulls' aggression were enough to carry them.

"Basically, we outhustled them," said Eric Martin, Salisbury's All-America defenseman. "We stuck it out."

Mostly good decisions, the usual aggressive Sea Gulls style and their lucky gold jerseys formed an unbeatable combination.

Into 2005, Salisbury will carry a 29-game winning streak and consecutive national titles.

Nazareth 1 6 1 1 - 9

Salisbury 5 3 2 3 - 13

Goals: N-Rogers 2, Wahl, Adams, Coon, Brown, Amidon, Navarra, Hotaling; S-Arnold 4, Simmons 3, Smith 2, O'Neil, Ricucci, Bradford, Rohde. Assists: N-Field, Rogers; S-Simmons 2, Arnold, Edwards, O'Neil, Oakley, Reed, Ricucci, Smith. Saves: N-Civalier 20; S-Korpon 9.

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