SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 8 Salisbury University men's lacrosse team earned a trip to the Capital Athletic Conference championship, downing York College of Pennsylvania 16-4 at Sea Gull Stadium in a CAC semifinal matchup on Saturday afternoon.
The Sea Gulls took a 2-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game, as sophomore Carson Kalama broke the ice with the first goal, picking up a ground ball on the crease and redirecting the ball into the back of the net.
Senior Mike Kane doubled the lead just 43 seconds later. With the ball on the left side of the box, he cut in towards the crease and finished a low shot.
The team's traded possessions over the next seven minutes, but at the 5:41 mark, Salisbury began peppering Spartan goalkeeper Caleb Abney with four-straight shots. On a fifth shot, sophomore Nathan Blondino ripped an attempt from the left wing on an assist from Kane for a 3-0 lead; Blondino finished the game with a career-high six goals to lead the team.
York put away its first to cut the lead to 3-1, but Kane netted his second with 1:06 left in the first quarter, before Kalama tallied his second off another ground ball collection and score on the crease 11 seconds later to give the Gulls a 5-1 lead into the second.
Junior Thomas Cirillo opened the second quarter with his first, as junior Preston Dabbs ran down the right sideline, before threading a pass from just outside the offensive box to a cutting Cirillo near the crease for the shot.
Dan Kaplan scored to answer for the Spartans, but Salisbury closed the half on a 3-0 run, as Blondino netted two straight.
The first came on a pass from Kalama to the left side of the crease at the 8:41 mark for a 7-1 lead. Then, with 2:45 left, Blondino cut down the left side, took a pass from sophomore Brendan Bromwell, and tucked the ball into the lower-left corner of the cage.
Kane closed the half with an unassisted goal, as the Sea Gulls took a 9-2 lead into halftime. At the break, Salisbury led in shots 27-8 and ground balls 15-13, while winning 9-of-13 faceoffs.
The Spartans opened the third quarter with the first goal of the second half, but Blondino responded at the 10:34 mark. A York turnover in the offensive end sent the ball past midfield, where Blondino got behind the Spartan defense to pick up the ground ball and score on a one-on-one with Abney.
Kane's fourth goal with 2:49 left in the quarter gave Salisbury an 11-3 lead heading into the final frame, and Blondino scored his fifth and sixth to open the fourth quarter and push the lead to 13-3.
Kalama completed his hat trick in the quarter, while sophomore Kevin McDermott scored two to cap the scoring for the Gulls.
Kane finished the game with four goals and an assist, good for second on the team with five points.
The Sea Gull defense, led by Dabbs' four caused turnovers, held York to only 17 shots in the game and forced 10 of the Spartans' 20 turnovers.
Senior Connor Anderson earned the win with four saves in 54:33 in goal.
Top-seeded Salisbury will host second-seeded Frostburg State University on Saturday, May 2 in the CAC championship game; the game time is to be determined. Log on the www.suseagulls.com for more information as it becomes available.