Defense leads Sea Gulls to 6-3 win over Roanoke

Defense leads Sea Gulls to 6-3 win over Roanoke

SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 8 Salisbury University men's lacrosse team, led by a shut-down defensive unit, advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament with a 6-3 victory over Roanoke College on Wednesday night at Sea Gull Stadium.

The Sea Gull defense held the Maroons to only 24 shots in the game, while forcing 10 of Roanoke's 22 turnovers. Senior Marty Wallace paced the team with three caused turnovers, while seniors Knute Kraus and Austin Kemp each tallied two.

"We have had a great defensive effort all season and have held a lot of good teams in check," Head Coach Jim Berkman said. "To shut them out in the second half was very impressive in a playoff game, and hats off to a great effort by the defense tonight."

Salisbury found the goal first in the game on a crafty move from sophomore Carson Kalama with 12:29 to go in the first quarter. After a shot from junior Thomas Cirillo that was saved, the ball fell to the turf in the crease, and Kalama poked the ball between the Maroons' goalkeeper's legs and across the goal line.

Five minutes later senior Mike Kane doubled the lead on a pass from senior Sean Fitzgerald. Kane cut down the middle towards the crease, as Fitzgerald zipped a pass from the right side for a dunk on the crease.

Roanoke's Iv Stucker answered with two goals before the end of the quarter, tying the game at 2-2 before the second quarter.

With a man-up chance in the first two minutes of the second quarter, sophomore Nathan Blondino capitalized on another pass from Fitzgerald. Blondino cut down to the crease and took the pass from the back right to score into the top-left corner of the net to regain the lead 3-2.

A shot from the left wing by junior Jake Rotman, on an assist from Blondino, pushed the lead back to two goals at 4-2 at the 10:14 mark of the second quarter.

The Maroons held the Sea Gulls scoreless for the rest of the half and cut the lead to one with a goal with less than five minutes to go before halftime, but three saves from senior Connor Anderson helped keep the Gulls' lead at 4-3 at the break.

At the half, Salisbury led in shots 21-12 and ground balls 23-9, while winning 6-of-8 faceoffs.

Fitzgerald opened the third quarter with a score just two minutes in, driving left and ripping a shot into the top-right corner to regain a two-goal advantage, 5-3.

Kalama tallied Salisbury's final goal at the 14:12 mark of the fourth quarter, taking a transition pass from junior James Burton and scoring on the crease.

The SU defense clamped down in the second half, holding Roanoke to only 12 shots, while Anderson made six of his eight saves to keep the Maroons off the scoreboard in the last-two quarters.

Fitzgerald led the offense with three points on a goal and two assists, while Kalama led with two goals.

Salisbury moves on to play No. 7 Stevenson University on Saturday, May 9. The time and location are to be determined. Log on to www.suseagulls.com for more information as it becomes available.

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