By ZACH GILLELAND
What: No. 1 Salisbury men’s lacrosse hosts No. 6 Gettysburg College
Where: Sea Gull Stadium
When: Saturday at 1 p.m.
How to Watch: Sea Gull Sports Network
Four score and seven years ago, the first-ranked Salisbury University men’s lacrosse team defeated Gettysburg 14-6 to advance to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) National Championship game. Falling to the maroon and gold twice last season, the sixth-ranked Bullets return to Sea Gull Stadium in a match-up that should be a tight one.
Salisbury: With 11 National Championships and 28 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances on their resume, expectations for the Sea Gulls are always high. Even with a 3-0 record to start the season, Salisbury has had its fair share of struggles. With one of the top programs in the nation in Gettysburg coming to town, the Sea Gulls won’t have much room for error.
Offense: Salisbury has not been able to replicate the success of its 21-2 season-opening win against Methodist. Facing tougher opponents in Lynchburg and Montclair St., the Sea Gulls have been limited to just nine goals apiece. The Salisbury attack has seen a dip in shooting percentage, shooting 27 percent compared to 37 percent from a season ago. Senior attacker Carson Kalama leads the offense with nine goals and is tied for second in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC). Adding senior attacker Nathan Blondino and freshman newcomer Josh Melton into the mix, the Sea Gulls have the capability to put the ball in the back of the net.
Defense: Six out of the 17 goals scored against Salisbury this season have come in the fourth quarter. While opponents have found some success late, it’s been the defense that has helped the Sea Gulls in key situations. Senior goalkeeper Colin Reymann leads the CAC in save percentage, and Salisbury has allowed the fewest goals-per-game in the conference. Facing another strong opponent in Gettysburg, the Sea Gull defense will be tested once again.
At the ‘X’: A good offense starts at the ‘X.’ One of the reasons for Salisbury’s success throughout the years has been its ability to control face-offs. Senior midfielder Duncan Campbell has won on almost 70 percent of his face-off attempts this season, allowing the Sea Gulls more opportunities to control the ball in the offensive zone.
Player to Watch: Senior goalkeeper Colin Reymann
Facing a nationally ranked opponent this week, the schedule keeps getting tougher for Salisbury. One of the top goalkeeper’s in the country, Reymann keeps the ball out of the net which has contributed to the Sea Gulls’ dominance throughout the years. The senior faces a tough task ahead of him Saturday, and Salisbury will need a strong performance from him in the cage.
Gettysburg: The Bullets have had an impressive start to the season, which includes a dominate 22-5 win over Goucher on Wednesday. A program looking to build off a Final Four appearance a season ago, Gettysburg has showcased strong offensive and defensive play. After falling to Salisbury twice last season, the Bullets are looking for revenge.
Offense: After dumping 22 on Goucher Wednesday night, Gettysburg will look to continue to put up points against what could be its toughest opponent of the season in Salisbury. Sophomore attacker Tommy Heller led the Bullets with five goals in the win, and teammate Sean Fumai has attributed eight goals on the season. A swarming attack that can score early and often, Gettysburg has put up 90 shots in just two games.
Defense: As flashy as the offense has been in their first two games, the Bullets defense has been equally tough on opponents. Opposing teams have found little success, and junior goalkeeper Tim Brady has only been forced to make 12 saves. The defense has only allowed nine goals in its first two games and dating back to last season only three opponents have managed to score in double figures with two being from Salisbury.
At the ‘X’: With two teams that can score a lot of goals, an interesting battle will be at the ‘X’. Like the Sea Gulls, Gettysburg has been able to hold the advantage at the ‘X’. The Bullets have overwhelmed opponents on face-offs, winning 69 percent of the time. Whoever can win the face-off battle may have the upper hand Saturday.
Player to Watch: Senior attacker Sean Fumai
The team’s leading goal scorer on a crowded statistics sheet, Fumai has scored eight goals on 12 shot attempts this season. Coming off a hat trick in the win against Goucher, the senior leads the Gettysburg attack to hostile territory Saturday. Facing one of the top goalkeepers in the nation in Colin Reymann, Gettysburg’s ability to score may be on the shoulders of its captain.