Gulls offense stays hot, defense locks down in 23-7 win over No. 20 Montclair State

Gulls offense stays hot, defense locks down in 23-7 win over No. 20 Montclair State

SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 5 Salisbury University men's lacrosse team took on No. 20 ranked Montclair State University on Saturday afternoon at Sea Gull Stadium and came away with a convincing 23-7 victory.

The Gulls picked up where they left off in the fourth quarter of their comeback win over No. 2 Lynchburg College earlier in the week as the offense kept clicking and the defense found a way to shut down key players for the Red Hawks.

While Montclair took the opening faceoff and scored 10 seconds into the contest, it would be the Gulls' game from there on out. Nathan Blondino got the scoring going for Salisbury as he connected on a feed from Brendan Bromwell.

Following another goal for Salisbury, Bromwell made his presence as an all-around player felt as he was playing in the six-on-six set on defense for Salisbury and caused a turnover over, picked up the groundball and went coast to coast until he found a wide open Brady Dashiell on the crease in transition, who buried the feed to bring the score to 3-1.

The first quarter scoring ended with a Carson Kalama goal where he was low on the crease and Thomas Cirillo jammed a pass in that Kalama corralled and finished low to put Salisbury up 5-2.

Montclair once again started the scoring in the second quarter, but Salisbury was quick to respond again, going on a 6-0 run to bring the score to 11-3 just over half way through the quarter.

Highlighting the run were goals from Kalama and Blondino. Following a loose-ball scrum just outside the Montclair crease,  Chase Berquist came away with a hard-fought groundball and took it behind-the-net with his head up and found an open Kalama out front. Blondino's goal in the run came as Cirillo took a hard alley dodge down the right side and from goal line extended ripped a pass across to the opposite wing and found Blondino, who buried the shot from a severe angle.

The Red hawks responded with four-straight goals of their own but those would stand as the last goals Montclair would score in the contest.

With 11 seconds left in the half, long pole Kyle Tucker took the ball in transition and finished the ball between the keeper's legs to send the teams into halftime with Salisbury up 12-7.

At half, Salisbury was outshooting the Red Hawks 26-16 and had just four turnovers, to Montclair's 11.

Cirillo finished the half with four assists and the senior captain finished the game with two goals and six assists for an eight-point outing.

Kalama, who already had a first-half hat trick, started the second half with four consecutive tallies to cap his scoring efforts on the day at seven goals. Kalama scored his seven goals on just eight shots (.875 shooting percentage).

Dashiell broke Kalama's run as the Sea Gulls displayed excellent teamwork with every attackmen on the field touching the ball right before Blondino found Dashiell on the back door for the score.

Dashiell finished the contest with two goals and three assists, while Blondino went for five goals and two assists. In all, the starting attack accounted for 14 goals and five assists.

Up 19-7 heading into the fourth quarter, Salisbury tacked on five more. Two players recorded their first goals in the maroon and gold as Nick Garbarino picked up a loose ball out of a scrum in front of the cage and finished it, and Zach Pompea connected on a feed from Hunter Schaeffer, who tallied a marker of his own earlier in the contest. Kevin McDermott also found the back-of-the-net in the final period in the victory.

Joshua Dean got the victory between-the-pipes for Salisbury with eight saves in 52:33 minutes of play. Anthony Stavrakis played the final 7:27 in cage and recorded one save and did not allow a goal. Lucas Jones took the loss for Montclair with a 12-save performance.

Salisbury excelled defensively all contest and accounted for 20 caused turnovers on the evening. Sticking out from the pack was Tucker, who in addition to his goal added four caused turnovers and scooped up three groundballs. With 8:25 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, Tucker timed a stick check perfectly and sent a Montclair attackman's stick flying through the air. Tucker grabbed the groundball and led the clear down field to finish the play.

Andrew Ternahan also performed well and caused havoc in the middle of the field all day. The junior accounted for three caused turnovers and three groundballs on the day.

Salisbury returns to action on Saturday, February 27 when it travels to Pennsylvania to take on preseason No. 6 Gettysburg College.

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