Salisbury, MD – The Salisbury Sea Gulls completed their 5th straight undefeated regular season as they topped a scrappy Washington College Shoremen group, 15-11. Salisbury’s Kylor Berkman set up four goals while ripping one of his own. Midfielders Mike Von Kamecke and Bruce Richardson had a hat trick and an assist each. Offensively, WAC was paced by Jimmy Kielek’s five points and four by Kolyn Kirby. WAC junior goalie was the standout of the game with 16 saves to help keep the Sea Gulls from pulling away.
The 2,975 in attendance were the most to ever witness a War on the Shore live, eclipsing the 2,808 at the 2004 War. It was the second most at a game at Sea Gull Stadium, falling short of the 3,417 set in 1991 for the last national championship held on a campus site, which was ironic today as the team that defeated Salisbury on that day just announced today that they are going back to DIII from a stint at DI (Hobart).
To read a great play-by-play blog from WAC, visit this link: http://gowac.blogspot.com/2008_04_01_archive.html
Salisbury didn’t waste time in this one before jumping out to a lead. Less than three and a half minutes in and the Sea Gulls were up 3-0. Kirby would momentarily give the Shoremen momentum before two Greg Titus goals stretched the SU lead to 5-1 in the first quarter. Salisbury dominated the time of possession early and goalie Zach Krissoff stepped up big early with six saves in the first quarter to keep WAC at bay.
Not wanting to be outdone, the second quarter became the Gordon Cohen show as he made six saves. Some of those second quarter saves led directly to the possessions that WAC needed to chip away at the SU lead. After one save, SU then quickly forced a turnover, but Mike Sutter made an athletic one-handed interception on the clear. He looked up-field and fired it to Chris Read. Read jumped and shot back low as Krissoff exploded up with him going for a kick save. He kicked the ball up and slightly behind him which stayed inside the crossbar to allow WAC to cut the lead to 7-5, the eventual halftime score. Salisbury dominated the time of possession in the first half, part of that credit can be to their faceoff duo of Ryan Brown and Ryan Finch who combined to win 10-of-14 first half faceoffs. WAC, however, was a perfect 12-for-12 clearing in the first half and had nine saves by Cohen. His counterpart Krissoff also had nine first half saves.
Things opened up a bit in the third quarter as the penalty flags started flying (five of the game’s seven were in this quarter) and eight goals were scored. WAC would cut the lead to one in this quarter at 9-8 with 5:35 left in this quarter. They would once again have it down to just a goal at 11-10 with 11:05 left in the game. Two quick Salisbury goals started to put the game out of reach.
With a three goal lead and about five minutes to go, Salisbury started in their offensive set to end the game where they basically play keep-away. The teams that held late leads on Salisbury had the right idea: if you trail Salisbury late, they are so good at possessing the ball that your chances are slim-to-none of seeing any chances. With the added component of Finch and Brown’s dominance facing off, a team needs to have a late lead to have any prayer.
Finch and Brown had a good battle with WAC’s Thayer Damm. Damm is the Centennial Conference’s best faceoff guy statistically and had his moments today. When WAC was mounting a comeback in the third quarter, Damm won a couple in a row. Then he oddly didn’t line up for a few and Salisbury quickly got possession and got a couple of quick goals. Damm wound up just 8-of-20 on the day to Finch’s 6-of-9 and Brown’s 13-of-21, however, Damm probably controlled the draw to where he wanted a bit more than the others, but the Salisbury unit proved relentless on groundballs and won the battle today regardless of who directed it where.
At times WAC appeared to drop into a zone on defense. Ultimately, Salisbury was able to get their offense going, but the strategy may have contributed to some of Cohen’s success early. Salisbury outshot the Shoremen 44-34 and held a distinct advantage in gbs, 34-23. Salisbury also was pretty successful clearing the ball going 17-of-19 on the day.
It would appear that Salisbury is starting to hit their stride at the right time after some close calls. Their offense showed it can score when it needed. Defensively, a few of WAC’s goals came off quickstick finishes inside. There appeared to be a lot of focus on WAC’s Chris Read. This may have led to some slips inside that gave some other players a chance to get their hands free. Credit WAC for finding these opportunities.
Despite WAC’s 12-2 record and their only losses coming to #1 Salisbury and #2 Gettysburg, their road to the NCAA tournament isn’t easy or guaranteed. The only guaranteed way in would be winning the Centennial Conference. That road goes through a semifinal match-up with #9 Haverford on Friday and then the winner of the #2 (likely to change) Gettysburg and Muhlenberg (first ever trip to the Centennial.). If WAC beats Haverford and loses to Gettysburg in the Centennial final, they would be in good position for an at-large bid to the NCAAs. But if a couple conference favorites get upset in their conference tournaments that puts WAC in a precarious spot. If say a Middlebury loses in the NESCAC final, Cortland in the SUNYAC, Lynchburg in the ODAC or Ithaca in the E8, WAC might be out. A loss at Haverford puts them in an even more precarious spot because that would likely move the Black Squirrels to higher in the regional rankings than WAC. All of that is conjecture of course, but serves the point that for Washington, the easiest way to prove their fans cheers today of “WAC is back!” is to win the Centennial next weekend at Gettysburg. Gettysburg will either be shellshocked and primed for another upset after their loss to F&M today, or more likely angry and ready to blow out the opposition.
From press Release
SALISBURY, Md. - The annual Salisbury University men's lacrosse game against Eastern Shore rival Washington (Md.) College lived up to the hype as the top-ranked Sea Gulls won 15-11 before a series record crowd of 2,975 at Sea Gull Stadium. Salisbury holds onto the Clark Cup, given to the winner of the regular-season matchup between the two Division III schools, for the sixth consecutive year.
SU coach Jim Berkman is now tied with former Army coach Jack Emmer for the NCAA record for wins by a men's lacrosse coach in the history of the game with 326 career wins. Berkman, now in his 20th season at Salisbury, has a career record of 326-35 in 21 seasons. His record at Salisbury is now 317-30. In the past six seasons Berkman has led the Sea Gulls to four NCAA Division III national championships and a staggering 119-2 record.
"I feel very proud. This is a reflection of my 20 years here and all of the great players I have been fortunate enough to coach here," said Berkman. "This is for the players. I am just fortunate enough to be the coach at Salisbury University and have a great lacrosse program."
The victory concludes the fifth consecutive perfect regular-season for the Sea Gulls (18-0) as SU will take a 41-game winning streak into the playoffs where the maroon and gold is slated to hold the top-seed in the South region. Salisbury is 71-0 at Sea Gull Stadium since 2003. Over the past six seasons the Sea Gulls have won 77 regular-season games, 91 including CAC tournament games, since April 17, 2003.
The game, also known as the 'War on the Shore', came alive in the third quarter as a wave of eight goals, four by each team, were scored in rapid fashion. SU senior Bruce Richardson (three goals, one assist) scored the first of his three goals in the second half to give the Sea Gulls an 8-5 advantage out of the half.
The Shoremen (12-2), who have only lost to the top-ranked and second-ranked (Gettysburg) teams this season, responded with three of the next four goals to cut the SU lead to one, 9-8.
SU sophomore Mike Von Kamecke (three goals, one assist), one of four Sea Gulls to score three goals in the game, scored back-to-back goals in less than a minute to give SU some breathing room.
Washington answered with two unanswered goals by senior Chris Read (two goals, one assist) and Matt Moreton to cut the Gulls' lead to one, once more, with 11 minutes left in the game.
The Sea Gulls scored four of the final five goals, two from Richardson to seal the victory for Salisbury.
This was the first time the Clark Cup was played at SU since the inception of the award named after Charles B. Clark, who was a coach and educator at each school, in 2004. The record attendance of 2,975 is the largest ever in the Salisbury-Washington series history which dates back to 1974. SU holds a 22-19 series advantage against Washington. The record attendance is also the second largest in Sea Gull Stadium history for a men's lacrosse game. SU drew 3,417 back on May 18, 1991 when Salisbury served as the host of the Division III national championship game against Hobart College. That was the last year the Division III championship was ever hosted on a school site.
"It was a great atmosphere to play in," said SU junior midfielder Kylor Berkman. "This is the first time the Brine King of Spring College Tour [pregame FanFest area] stopped at a Division III venue this year. There were people all lined up around the field."
In the first half, the Sea Gulls jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead behind goals by sophomore Jake DeLillo (three goals), senior Matt Hickman (two goals, one assist) and Von Kamecke. The Shoremen answered with a goal by Kolyn Kirby (three goals, one assist) assisted by Jimmy Kielek (two goals, three assists) at the 10:35 mark. Salisbury senior Greg Titus (three goals) scored two back-to-back goals to give SU a 5-1 lead. Washington tacked on a goal right before the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter began with a goal by Kylor Berkman (one goal, four assists) off an assist by Richardson. Kielek scored two quick ones for the Shoremen before DeLillo deposited one of the best looking goals of the day. The shifty attackman scooped up a ground ball on the crease and threw the shot behind his back past Washington goalie Gordon Cohen (16 saves).
Salisbury goalie Zach Krissoff made nine of his career-high 12 saves in the first half as he faced 34 Washington shots. The Sea Gulls got off 44 shots in the win.
"I was really impressed with Krissoff. He played really well" said Washington coach J.B. Clarke, in his 10th season. "When you go down to Salisbury and you miss 1-on-1 opportunities with the goalie it is going to be difficult to win the game."
The Sea Gulls won 19-of-30 face-offs, led by senior Ryan Brown (13-of-21), and cleared 17-of-19 chances. Salisbury scooped up 34 ground balls and caused nine of Washington's 15 turnovers.
Salisbury will next wait for the official announcement of the 2008 NCAA Division III men's lacrosse tournament field which will be announced on May 4. The Sea Gulls will hope to carry the current momentum into the postseason and help Coach Berkman secure the all-time wins record.
"I am glad to be part of the team that will help coach get there," said SU senior defenseman Ben Sandlin. "Hopefully, in the NCAA playoffs we will get him the record breaking win."
|Kylor Berkman||(1, 4)|
|Mike Von Kamecke||(3, 1)|
|Bruce Richardson||(3, 1)|
|Greg Titus||(3, 0)|
|Matt Hickman||(2, 1)|
|Jake Delillo||(3, 0)|
|Kyle Burto||(0, 2)|
|Zach Krissoff||12 (0.545)|
|Riley Clark||0 (0.000)|