By CHRIS MACKOWIAK
Featured photo: The Sea Gull offense meets on the sidelines during a break in their game vs. Widener. Feb. 17. Emma Reider photo
Fresh off of a second-straight Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) title and their 21st conference title overall, the Salisbury University men’s lacrosse team (16-3, 7-1 CAC) discovered their path to a potential third-consecutive national championship Sunday night when the 2018 NCAA Division III men’s lacrosse Tournament field was released.
Entering the CAC Championship Saturday evening, SU was ranked third in the latest NCAA South Region rankings. They sat behind No. 1 Gettysburg and No. 2 York (Pa.).
With seventh-ranked Salisbury’s 11-8 victory over second-ranked York (Pa.) in the CAC Championship, the Sea Gulls were boosted into a top-two spot in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament. In their position, SU receives a bye into the Second Round on Wednesday, facing the winner of a First Round neutral site game in Sea Gull Stadium.
That First Round match-up will feature Morrisville State (11-7, 8-0 NEAC) and Eastern University (12-6, 7-0 MAC Freedom). Eastern emerges as champions of the MAC Freedom after defeating Misericordia 17-14 in the conference championship on Saturday.
Morrisville State comes into the NCAA winners of 10 consecutive games including their 11-10 victory over Bryn Athyn in the NEAC Championship on Saturday. The Mustangs average 12.11 goals-per-game on offense, while allowing 8.78 goals-per-game on defense.
The Eastern Eagles score just over 11 goals-per-game while allowing 8.67 goals-per-game this season.
In other areas of the bracket, York and Christopher Newport University claimed at-large bids into the tournament field from the CAC. York comes out of the North Region of the bracket and will host Western New England in the Second Round.
CNU will be near Salisbury’s area of the bracket when they travel to Roanoke for their Second Round match-up. If SU and CNU get through their Second Round match-ups, then the two teams will meet for a third time this season. SU won both previous match-ups, one at CNU in the regular season and one in the CAC Semifinals.
All start times for games are still to be determined for Tuesday and Wednesday action.