Men’s Lacrosse punches ticket to NCAA Tournament with conference championship

NICK DIMATTEO
Staff Writer
@Nick_DiMatteo93

The No. 8 Salisbury University Men’s Lacrosse team earned its 19th Capital Athletic Conference championship on Saturday with a 14-5 victory over Frostburg Sate University at Sea Gull Stadium.

“Obviously we had to win this game to punch our ticket to move onto the next round, so I think there wasn’t a lack of anything to fire us up,” Salisbury senior defender and CAC Player of the Year Knute Kraus said. “We were excited all week and ready to get out here and prove were one of the best defenses in the country.”

Salisbury started the game with a 4-0 run 33 seconds into the game, when James Burton found Cason Kalama in the crease for a quick 1-0 lead.

Thomas Ciriillo added the second goal for the Sea Gulls when he launched a low shot that flew past the Frostburg goalie for a 2-0 lead. The score would remain there for the remainder of the first quarter.

Goalkeeper Connor Anderson had one of the best days of his lacrosse career keeping Frostburg out of the goal, for the first quarter and a half, recording a career high 16 saves while earning his 13th win of the season.

“Our defense knew what we had to do,” Salisbury keeper Connor Anderson said. “Our defense took the hands away from the kids we knew could shoot so the shots I was getting were all shots I like to see. Kudos to the defense, it’s easy when they do their part for me.”

Burton scored his second goal thanks to a pass from Cirillo minutes into the second quarter. Mike Kane then added a goal by scoring from the right side of the crease to give Salisbury a 4-0 lead.

Frostburg would then answer with two goals, cutting the score in half to 4-2, before Sean Fitzgerald added another goal for the Sea Gulls to start a 9-0 run for Salisbury.

Burton added his second goal to close out the first half with just over one minute left to give Salisbury a 6-2 halftime lead.  At the half Frostburg had a slight lead in shots taken 26-24, ground balls 19-14, and had won 7-10 face offs.

Salisbury opened up the second half with a man-up opportunity, which would begin a 7-0 run through the third quarter. Nathan Blondino found Kalama just thirty seconds into the third quarter. Cameron Maples then won the following face off and drove straight down the middle unassisted to score for Salisbury just eight seconds later.

“It was a great run in the third quarter, we ran that little fake flip play to start that man up they bit on it, Carson ended up with a dunk,” Head Coach Jim Berkman said. “Couldn’t ask for a better way to start the third quarter than run the man-up play you’ve been practicing for a while and you end up with a dunk to start the quarter.”

Davis Anderson then did the same thing off of a Frostburg turnover, driving right down the middle of the field for Salisbury’s third goal in a matter of minutes to give a 9-2 lead.

The 10th goal for Salisbury came from Christian Ottenritter from the left side of the crease. Kalama added two more goals, leading the team with four, and also scoring his 50th goal for the season. Fitzgerald added his second to close out the third quarter with a 13-2 lead.

Cirillo would add the final goal for Salisbury with just over 8 minutes left in the game.

As the CAC champion, Salisbury has earned an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.

“It is what it is, we’re a good road team we won a lot big games in the past on the road,” Berkman said. “We really like the way we’re playing right now and we’re going to be a tough match for anybody that has to play us.”

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