BY MARK DAVIS
The No. 1 ranked Salisbury University men’s lacrosse team is undefeated no more after falling at home to No.2 ranked York College in the CAC championship game.
It was a physical matchup between the two teams in their second meeting of the season. The first meeting the Sea Gulls won 17-5 over the Spartans making the championship game seem all but won already for SU.
The stage was set, and the Sea Gulls began the game winning the first face off with strong play from freshman midfielder T.J. Logue. Salisbury took the ball down the field for a shot, but it was eventually blocked by York goalie, Caleb Abney.
After a Spartans clear, they would go on to score the first goal of the game. The Spartans’ lead scorer, Andrew Gamble put a low shot past SU goalie Colin Reymann to give York the early lead.
The Gulls allowed two more goals, before finally finding life in their offense.
Junior attack Nathan Blondino would give SU their first goal after the drought marking his 42nd of the season. Salisbury would go on to lose the faceoff but step of defensively to score from a Spartans turnover.
As the final seconds ticked down in the first quarter, senior midfielder Thomas Cirillo put a low goal past Abney with one second remaining to cut the York lead to one.
As the second quarter began, the Spartans won the faceoff and followed up with a quick score putting them up 4-2. After another York goal, Salisbury’s senior midfield Christian Ottenritter would score quickly after the faceoff to keep the Gulls right on York’s heels.
The Sea Gulls trailed 6-3 at half, but came out in the third quarter winning the faceoff and turning it into points. After shots wide right, Sea Gulls junior attack Carson Kalama finally found his target, scoring his 43rd goal on the season.
The third quarter went back and forth with both teams trading goals, but unlike the first half, the Salisbury defense started forcing turnovers and shutting down York’s offense.
“I think collectively as a unit it took us a few minutes to get going,” Reymann said. “I think the shots that I saw especially in the second half were shots that I could save and for that I’m grateful.”
It wasn’t until midway through the fourth when the Spartans scored two back-to-back goals to give them momentum in the final few minutes.
The goals it put the Spartans up 10-7 with time running short for the Sea Gulls. But they answered back with twos goals from junior attack Nick Garbarino with less than two minutes remaining
The Sea Gulls last efforts to win the game were aggressive, with them winning the faceoff and looking for the tying goal.
“Towards the end of the game we looked like a first place team and everyone thought we were on the brink of a comeback, but unfortunately that’s how the world works sometimes,” Reymann said.
Despite a last second effort by the Gulls, their shot on goal was unsuccessful, and for the first time since May of 2015, Salisbury had lost.
The Sea Gulls won 16 face offs, had 31 ground balls and 10 saves total on the day, but it wasn’t enough to take down York.
“It’s been three weeks in a row we’ve came out a little slow, we let teams stay in games, and we played pretty well in the second half, but we just didn’t play well today,” Sea Gulls head coach Jim Berkman said.
The Salisbury University men’s lacrosse team will finish out their season at 18-1. This loss also marks the first loss to York College in the history of the program, and the Spartans first CAC championship win.
Even with the loss, Salisbury is expected to host several NCAA tournament games. With the next game coming May 11, the Gulls will have time to fix the necessary mistakes and get back to a winning mentality.