Quarterfinal matchup for Sea Gulls and Big Red puts top defenses on display

Quarterfinal matchup for Sea Gulls and Big Red puts top defenses on display

SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 2 Salisbury University men's lacrosse team is set to host No. 4 Denison University in an NCAA Division III tournament quarterfinal contest on Wednesday at Sea Gull Stadium. The opening faceoff for the game is set for 7 p.m.

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How we got here

The Sea Gulls advanced to the quarterfinal round with a second-round win over York College of Pennsylvania on Saturday, 12-6, at Sea Gull Stadium. Salisbury was led by senior midfielder Donovan Lange's three goals, while senior attackmen Rhett DePol and Luke Phipps tied to lead the Gulls with four points each. The Spartans kept the game close, with Salisbury leading, 6-5, at halftime, but SU stepped up to dominate the second half. The defense allowed only one York score during the half, while the Salisbury offense used two early third quarter scores and a four-goal fourth quarter to take the win.

How they got here

Denison earned a second-round win over Aurora University, 11-8, for a nod to play in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. The Big Red took a slim 6-5 lead into halftime, and Aurora continued to keep the contest close, scoring a goal with 7:37 left in the game to cut Denison's lead to 9-8. However, two-straight goals from Blair Farinholt closed the game for Denison, which was led by Luke Walsh's six points on four goals and two assists.

The last time we met

The last matchup between Salisbury and Denison took place on March 16, 2008; the game was a 6-3 regular-season win for the Sea Gulls. SU scored three goals in the fourth quarter, while the Sea Gull defense held the Big Red scoreless in the final frame to take the win. Former Sea Gull Greg Titus led Salisbury with three goals, with two coming in the final quarter. Current assistant coach and former defender Ben Sandlin paced the dominant defense with four caused turnovers and four ground balls.

Something's got to give

Wednesday's game features two of the top defensive units in the country. The Sea Gulls boast the No. 8 scoring defense with 6.30 goals allowed per game, while the Big Red will bring the No. 1 scoring defense with 5.32 goals allowed per game to Sea Gull Stadium. Since their April 2 loss to Christopher Newport University, SU has been on a nine-game winning streak, allowing more than six goals in a game only twice. Denison has been equally as effective since the beginning of April, allowing more than six goals only three times.

Scouting Denison

Along with the nation's top defense, the Big Red also feature the No. 4 scoring offense, tallying 16.58 goals per game and giving them the No. 1 scoring margin of 11.26 goals per game. Denison is led by its attackman duo of senior Eddie Vita and freshman Luke Walsh, with 73 and 70 points, respectively. Walsh lead the team with 50 goals, while Vita leads with 37 assists. The stingy defense is paced by senior long-stick midfielder Austin Campbell's 33 caused turnovers.

What's next?

The winner of the quarterfinal contest will move on to the semifinal round against the winner of another quarterfinal game between No. 5 Washington (Md.) College and No. 3 Stevenson University. The semifinal round is set to take place on Sunday, May 18.

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