Shut-down defense helps Sea Gulls win CAC title over York, 12-4

Shut-down defense helps Sea Gulls win CAC title over York, 12-4

SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 2 Salisbury University men's lacrosse team brought home its 18th Capital Athletic Conference championship on Saturday, defeating No. 12 York College of Pennsylvania, 12-4, at Sea Gull Stadium.

The SU (18-1) defense, led by senior long-stick midfielder Zeke Smith and junior defender Knute Kraus with three and two caused turnovers, respectively, shut down York's offense, allowing only four goals on 18 shots. The unit held York's top three scorers to only two points in the effort.

Senior midfielder Donovan Lange, who led Salisbury with three goals, started the scoring with a goal on the crease off an assist from junior midfielder Sean Fitzgerald at the 11:46 mark of the first quarter.

The score started a 4-0 run for the Sea Gulls, as junior attackman Mike Kane netted a shot, also on the crease, on an assist from senior attackman Rhett DePol, before Lange added his second on a man-up chance from the right wing with an assist from senior attackman Luke Phipps.

DePol and Phipps, both with two goals and two assists, led Salisbury with four points each in the game.

After Phipps' first, York netted its first score of the game, but Salisbury took a 4-1 lead into the second quarter.

Fitzgerald scored from 10 yards on a low shot to open the second frame, as Salisbury added three-straight to start the quarter. DePol followed with his first from the left wing, and senior midfielder Brandon Kendrick added another from the left wing for his first in the stretch.

The Spartans scored their second on a man-up chance at the 5:22 mark, but with 4:58 left in the half, Phipps netted a transition goal with an open net on the crease, as DePol received a pass on the left side of the cage, drew the keeper, and dished to Phipps for the score and an 8-2 halftime lead.

At the half, Salisbury led in shots, 22-7, ground balls, 19-11, and senior midfielder Chris Biank won 8-of-12 first-half faceoffs.

SU's defense shut out York in the third quarter, while the Sea Gulls scored four more goals; Lange opened the half with his third from the left wing.

DePol followed with a diving shot on the crease, after dodging his defender and driving left, and Kendrick followed with a similar score just over one minute later at the 3:05 mark.

After a man-up score from Fitzgerald, Salisbury took a 12-2 lead into the final quarter.

York netted its final two scores in the fourth quarter, before the Gulls closed the win and brought the CAC crown back to Salisbury.

Senior goalkeeper Alex Taylor improved his record to 18-1 with the win, making seven saves in the game.

The Sea Gulls earned the CAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III tournament, and now await the tournament selection show on Sunday at 10 p.m., on for their first matchup of the tournament.

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