Salisbury extended its winning streak to 54 games and used a well-balanced offensive attack to hold off Roanoke. Junior midfielder Matt Dasinger led the way for the Gulls with five goals and an assist.
For the first few minutes it looked as if Salisbury was going to run away with it. It appeared that maybe the loss to St. Mary’s wasn’t so much an exception, but the norm for this highly touted Roanoke team. The game started sloppily. Salisbury won the opening face-off, turned it over, only to get it back as junior defenseman Chris Heier made his presence felt by stripping Roanoke attackman Adam Leahy. With the ball back, Salisbury failed to get the ball in the box in time. Following the delay of game, Heier once again stripped Leahy. This time, however, Salisbury was able to hold onto possession. On the ensuing possession, Jimmy Creighton drove down the wing, pushed back top-side and beat Roanoke’s Matt Madalon up high. Salisbury won the next face-off back and hit goalie Max Zarchin with an outlet. Zarchin scanned the field and hit Matt Dasinger alone near midfield. Dasinger took it himself to a dodge down the wing and buried a shot giving Salisbury the momentum and a two goal lead just over two minutes into the game.
Bill Pilat called a timeout and rallied his troops. The stategizing didn’t immediately pay off, but Roanoke got their act together. Roanoke controlled possession for the next few minutes, unable to make anything productive happen. A turnover escalated into a sloppy exchange around midfield as each team traded possessions back and forth without ever crossing midfield. This led to an unsettled situation for Roanoke. All-American Chris Keating pushed a pass up to Jon Mason, who found himself one-on-one with Zarchin. Mason beat Zarchin and got Roanoke on the board.
Roanoke would notch the next three goals and steal the momentum on their home field along with a 4-2 lead. Of course, Salisbury never lacks the ability to score. Rolling with what Roanoke gave them, the Sea Gull offense zipped the ball around the perimeter looking for openings after dodges, re-dodges and re-directs. Eventually, Mike Edwards found Mike Hurley, who found the back of the net for Salisbury. Dasinger would strike again in the first in almost identical fashion. With just 28.6 seconds left in the quarter, Dasinger this time drove straight down the left side. No slide came and he placed his shot nicely, leveling the playing field once again.
As far as scoring goes, the second quarter would prove to be the least exciting. Salisbury’s 5th goal came early in the quarter on an extra-man opportunity. This time Mike Hurley fed Eric Bishop who put a bounce shot past Madalon.
Both goalies made their presences known at different points in the game. With 8:40 to play in the 2nd, Max Zarchin made a nice save that led into a Salisbury fastbreak. The fastbreak died, however, as they overthrew the man on the crease. With just over 2 and a half minutes left in the half, the All-American Madalon made three back-to-back saves to hold off the Salisbury attack.
Threatening to steal momentum back, following their 6th goal on a Ryan Rohde shot, a Salisbury longpole intercepted a pass on a failed Roanoke clear. He put the ball in the net from just over the midfield line. Unfortunately, the back linejudge called offsides and awarded Roanoke the ball. No goal. Capitalizing on the call, Roanoke’s Zack Thomas fed Leahy who made the game just 6-5 Salisbury. In a familiar scene, Matt Dasinger again drove down the side and beat Madalon offstick with a minute to play and sent the game to the half at 7-5.
Just prior to the half, the game got a bit chippy. Both teams were playing with a lot of emotion. It was a re-match of last year’s semifinal game that Salisbury took 13-11. Salisbury has a storied tradition and streak to uphold, while Roanoke sought revenge, and had something to prove after the loss to St. Mary’s last weekend. Salisbury shut-down short-stick defenseman Luis Gonzalez stripped Adam Leahy and then bench pressed him to the ground. This was a repeat of a move he pulled earlier on another Roanoke midfielder. Following the looseball, Zarchin was outside of the cage in the scrum. The ball was cleared out of the area, but Roanoke’s Thomas cross-checked Zarchin to the ground. The referee close to the play threw a flag immediately following the check. Chris Heier responded in protection of his goalie, words were exchanged. In a strange occurrence, the refs blew the call. They seemingly forgot about Thomas’ cross-check, which started it and warranted a penalty. They awarded Heier a push with possession penalty and Adam Leahy was awarded illegal body check penalty. Despite the protests of the home Roanoke fans, Salisbury was still awarded the ball, but the wrong penalty was assessed.
In order to try and make things work a little better, Roanoke made some personnel adjustments to start the second half. Adam Leahy was still in the penalty box to start. He needed a break after being owned in the first half by Heier. Thomas was out for the start as well. The adjustments seemed to pay off, as Leahy running from what appeared to be a middie position, received a nice little intentional deflection from Chris Keating. The deflection came from a failed Salisbury clear and found Leahy in a foot race to the goal. Leahy put it past Zarchin and brought the game to 8-6.
With 11:37 left in the third quart, Chaz Carlson would give Roanoke one more chance before Salisbury took over. Carlson started a dodge on the wing and pushed up-field. After he drew the slide, he rolled back down the wing and put a lefty shot past Zarchin. This gave Salisbury a slim 8-7 lead. To start putting the game out of reach, Salisbury would notch four more goals in the quarter (including Dasinger’s nearly identical 4th goal) while Roanoke only managed one. The burst sent Salisbury with a commanding 12-8 lead into the final period.
To start the fourth, Zarchin held off a powerful Roanoke man-up. He pulled out two saves with his shaft and a stick side high save all in a span of about 10 seconds. Despite a solid effort, Salisbury’s ball movement proved to be too much for the Roanoke zone defense. In methodical fashion, Salisbury worked the ball around testing the defense from nearly every angle. They eventually found themselves in a commanding, 16-9 position with 6:49 remaining.
Playing more for morale and the future, Roanoke pulled together some nice offensive looks to end the game. Chris Keating started taking control and dodging to go to the goal after a relatively quiet game for the 2nd team All-American. The offense started to click once the middies, Keating and Carlson, really started to put the pressure from up-top. The majority of the game, the offense seemed geared towards feeding the crease from behind. The Salisbury defense, specifically Heier, used those opportunities to remove the ball repeatedly from the Roanoke attack. Roanoke would add three goals late to make the score a respectable 16-12.
Zarchin slightly outperformed Madalon in net, 13 saves vs. 10. Roanoke’s Billy Cameron proved to be a reliable option at the face-off circle winning 16 of 27 face-offs and showed to be dangerous pushing the ball into transition.
For Salisbury, an offense that lost many key components from a team that was so potent a year ago clearly hasn’t lost a step. Now the Gulls have two lines at midfield that can hurt you. Matt Dasinger had a breakout game despite being part of the 2nd line. “Matt’s one of the best middies in the country, he’s just a big-time player. He created some great shots,” said Berkman. “He’s the fastest guy on our team. His lacrosse IQ has caught up to his athleticism, that he didn’t have the first two years. That actually is our 2nd line, that line has been the most productive with him, Yoder and Berkman in there. They just make things happen with his speed and the other guys off the ball.”
Overall, Berkman was happy with the performance. “It was a good win for us. Win a game against a top team. We didn’t play our best today, we played awful hard. I mean they’re a good team, we had a lot of new guys playing in a lot of spots and hadn’t been in this kind of environment before,” said Berkman. “They’ve got an outstanding defense. If we can score 16 goals against these guys, I think we’ll get 16 against anybody.”
Berkman continued, “but defensively, we definitely gave up some soft goals at the end of the game when we should have put the game away. I think right now we’re still trying to figure out exactly who our guys are on close defense and get some more experience. We have a couple of guys that haven’t played, and we got a couple guys coming off the bench. They have to get some more experience, because you can’t duplicate the intensity and pressure we saw here. You can’t duplicate that at practice. I thought offensively, we took advantage of a lot of situations and a lot of unsettled situations, and made them pay. It was a good effort, we definitely gotta tighten the ship up, because we can’t give 12 goals up, if we’re going to ultimately win down the road. I like where we are offensively and our effort.”
Coach Pilat too was happy with his team’s performance. It was a better all-around effort than the loss at St. Mary’s. And the game was certainly exciting to watch, as he knows it always is against Salisbury. The Maroons are still showing signs of early season rust, but the players are there. They lost very little from last year, now its just a matter of getting their identity back and coming together more cohesively. At times, they showed flashes of brilliance offensively. Many of their goals came in two-goal spurts. Defensively, they need to shore some things up, because despite Salisbury’s potency, you can’t expect to give up 16 goals and last long in May.
|Jon Mason||(2, 2)|
|Adam Leahy||(2, 1)|
|Chaz Carlson||(3, 0)|
|Chris Keating||(1, 1)|
|Zack Thomas||(1, 1)|
|Billy Cameron||(1, 0)|
|Pat Hurley||(1, 0)|
|Matt Duke||(1, 0)|
|Matt Madalon||10 (0.385)|