Salisbury men rout Tufts, 19-7, to win Division III title

Bradman scores record seven goals as Sea Gulls exact revenge on Jumbos

  • Salisbury's Sam Bradman shoots in the fourth quarter. The Sea Gulls routed Tufts, 19-7, to win the NCAA Division III title at M&T Bank Stadium.
Salisbury's Sam Bradman shoots in the fourth quarter.… (Photo for The Baltimore…)
May 29, 2011|By Todd Karpovich, Special to The Baltimore Sun

Salisbury junior midfielder Sam Bradman was determined to make a statement in Sunday's NCAA Division III men's lacrosse championship against Tufts at M&T Bank Stadium.

Bradman and the Sea Gulls admittedly came out flat in a loss to the Jumbos in last year's final and were determined to not make the same mistake in the rematch. Bradman responded by setting a Division III championship game record with seven goals, and the Sea Gulls ran away with a 19-7 victory in front of an announced 18,086 at M&T Bank Stadium for their ninth national championship.

"We had the motivation every day in practice," Bradman said. "We knew we had to come out and start firing. We didn't want to embarrass them or anything. We lost to them last year, and we needed to make a statement this year. The Gulls are back."

The 12-goal win also tied a record for the largest margin of victory in a Division III title game. Hobart beat Washington College, 18-6, in 1990.

Junior midfielder Tony Mendes had four goals for Salisbury (21-1), while junior attackmen Matt Cannone and Erik Krum each scored twice. Senior attackman D.J. Hessler (St. Paul's) led Tufts (18-3) with two goals and three assists.

Bradman, Cannone and Mendes each scored to give Salisbury a 3-0 lead with 10:45 left in the first quarter, forcing Tufts to call a timeout. Junior midfielder Geordie Schafer answered for the Jumbos, who appeared to settle down. But Bradman, Cannone and senior midfielder Spencer Smith each scored in the final five minutes, and Salisbury led 6-1 at the end of the first quarter.

"We had three basic things that helped us to success tonight, and the first was transition defense," Salisbury coach Jim Berkman said. "We knew Tufts could score in transition, and we really limited that today. Secondly was covering the crease and not allowing the crease goals. And third was dodging and feeding. I think our guys really executed those things today."

It was the second-most goals scored by Salisbury in a quarter in 13 championship appearances. The Sea Gulls outshot Tufts 16-4 in the first.

Tufts freshman goalie Patton Watkins entered the game with a 9.00 goals-against average, but he appeared helpless at times against Salisbury's wave of attackers and was pulled midway through the second quarter for junior Steven Foglietta.

"We were much more prepared this season," said Salisbury senior goalie Johnny Rodriguez (Mount St. Joseph), who finished with four saves. "We had a great game plan. I thought we played well defensively, and offensively, I thought we played even better."

After Hessler and junior midfielder Kevin McCormick cut the margin to four with 11:37 left in the first half, Mendes and Krum answered for the Sea Gulls, who led 9-3 at halftime.

"I don't think it mattered what we did last year," Hessler said. "This is a totally different game. They kept it coming, but that's what they did. They deserved it. They beat us."

Tufts got its transition game working in the second half and eventually cut the lead to 10-5 on an extra-man goal by senior attackman Ryan Molloy with 7:42 left in the third quarter. However, Bradman's fourth goal two minutes later took away any momentum. Bradman scored twice more two minutes into the fourth quarter to increase the lead to 13-5, and Tufts never threatened the rest of the way.

Tufts beat Salisbury, 9-6, in last year's title game.

S 6 3 2 8 -- 19
T 1 2 2 2 -- 7

Goals: S--Bradman 7, Mendes 4, Cannone 2, Krum 2, Clarke, Zordani, Quist, S.Smith; T--Molloy 2, Hessler 2, Schafer, McCormick, Kirwan.

Assists: S--Cannone 2, Clarke 2, Zordani, Bradman, Mendes, Krum, McGuire; T--Hessler 3, Witko, Rhoads.

Saves: S--Rodriguez 4, Swinburn 3; T--Watkins 4, Foglietta 3.

Division II championship

Mercyhurst 9, Adelphi 8: Junior midfielder Ian Wild scored a game-high four goals and senior goalkeeper Zach Nash made perhaps the biggest of his eight saves late in the game to help Mercyhurst edge Adelphi in the NCAA Division II tournament final at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Panthers (16-3) had a chance to send the game into overtime during a frantic final minute, but junior midfielder Kieran Riegel's bouncer after a drive down the right alley struck Nash in the upper part of his body and time expired before Adelphi could collect the rebound.

The Lakers (14-2) captured the school's first national championship despite losing 16 of 21 faceoffs. Wild was named the Most Outstanding Player.

Baltimore Sun reporter Edward Lee contributed to this article.

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