Salisbury’s ‘storybook season’ ends perfectly
It was business as usual May 25 for the top-ranked Salisbury Sea Gulls, completing another perfect season with the Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championship, defeating Cortland State, 19-13, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Salisbury (22-0) added a sixth undefeated season and an eighth national title – and second consecutive championship – to its trophy case.
“This has been a storybook season for us,” coach Jim Berkman said. “I know we’ve had success before, but as a coach, this is one of the most rewarding seasons after losing our starting defense (after last season). To come back, go undefeated, and to win another title (after) replacing all of those guys is a tribute to our program and our coaches.”
The win was more remarkable because senior goalkeeper Nick Fiorentino made only his third collegiate start in the championship game. He turned in a career performance with 14 saves. Berkman called Fiorentino a “student of the game” who saw his opportunity and made the most of it.
“This is a dream come true,” said Fiorentino. “I knew they were going to score some goals. I had to keep my composure and make as many saves as possible and force Cortland to be great shooters.”
The Red Dragons came out of the gate ready, and Fiorentino let one sneak by him at the start of the game, but the score didn’t rattle him and he went on to have a stellar game. After the Sea Gulls trailed at the start, they put four balls into the net consecutively and never fell behind again. The team in fact scored seven first-quarter goals, a championship-game record.
Senior Bruce Richardson and junior Kylor Berkman each scored five times for Salisbury, and sophomore Mike Von Kamecke added another three to account for 13 of the Sea Gulls’ 19 goals.
“The first midfield line was a very special midfield at the end of the season. We got to a point in games where they were scoring every time they got on the field,” Berkman said. “It’s a unique unit.”
The teams traded goals throughout the second quarter, contributing to a 9-6 Salisbury lead at the half. The Sea Gulls owned the second half, outscoring Cortland State, 10-7. Despite face-off and shot-total advantages, the Red Dragons were unable to overcome Salisbury’s attack and ability to capitalize on extra-man opportunities.
With the win, Salisbury holds a 45-18 record in 26 appearances in the NCAA tournament, besting Hobart’s old record of 41 wins. The Sea Gulls are 124-2 since the beginning of the 2003 season and are now 4-5 all-time against the Red Dragons.
Gettysburg 2 5 2 1 0 0—10
Salisbury 2 4 1 3 0 1—11
Salisbury scoring: Bruce Richardson 2, Kylor Berkman 2, Jake De Lillo 2, Matt Hickman, Connor Burgasser, Mike Von Kamecke, Greg Titus, Kevin Kustron.
Gettysburg scoring: Trip Dyer 3, Tom O’Donnell 2, Joe Brody 2, Ben Sufrin 2, Drew Duckworth.
Goalkeeper saves: Salisbury (Nick Fiorentino) 8, Gettysburg (Zachary Furshman) 14.
Ithaca 2 1 1 1—5
Cortland 4 3 4 5—16
Cortland scoring: Billy Fuchs 4, Joey Morgan 4, Adam Hyde 2, Josh Cittadino 2, Jay DeStefano, Brian Krol, Eric Parah.
Ithaca scoring: Matt Nelligan 2, Logan Bobzien, Craig Lepiane, Matt Cutter.
Goalkeeper saves: Cortland (Mike Robinson 9, Matt Hipenbecker 2) 11, Ithaca (Benn Connery 10, David Gal 3, Collin Meadow 2) 15.
Salisbury 7 2 6 4—19
Cortland 3 3 5 2—13
Salisbury scoring: Kylor Berkman 5, Bruce Richardson 5, Mike Von Kamecke 3, Greg titus 2, Matt Hickman, Jacke DeLillo, Ryan Phillips, Stephen Krasco.
Cortland scoring: Joey Morgan 4, Chris Hannon 4, Ryan Heath 2, Adam Hyde, Josh Cittadino, Brandon Misiaszek.
Goalkeeper saves: Salisbury (Nick Fiorentino) 14, Cortland (Mike Robinson) 6.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association