SALISBURY, Md.- The Capital Athletic Conference No.1-ranked Salisbury University men's lacrosse team hosts CAC No. 4 Frostburg State University in a CAC tournament semifinal game, set for 12:00 p.m., at Sea Gull Stadium on Satuday, April 23.
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How we got here
The top-ranked Gulls enter the semifinal game following a 17-0 regular-season record, which helped them capture the regular-season Capital Athletic Conference title and a first-round bye in the tournament.
On the offensive end, Salisbury has been led by a core group of upperclassmen. In the midfield, the first line of Thomas Cirillo, James Burton, and Brendan Bromwell has combined for 86 goals and 75 assists for 161 points, led by Cirillo's CAC-leading 71 points. On attack, the trio of juniors Nathan Blondino, Brady Dashiell, and Carson Kalama all have over 40 points, while Blondino and Kalama both have over 40 goals.
On the defensive side, the Gulls are allowing just 6.23 goals-against per game. Starting the last seven games, keeper Colin Reymann has held opponents to just 4.69 goals-against per game and has stopped .654 percent of the shots he's faced. In front of Reymann, at close defense junior Aaron Leeds (26 caused turnovers and 41 groundballs) is the elder statesmen as he is alongside sophomore's Kyle Tucker (35 CT's and 44 GB's) and Will Nowesnick (31 CT's and 37 GB's).
The starting three at the defensive midfield have also been standouts all year. Andrew Ternahan comes in with 33 caused turnovers and 72 groundballs at the long-stick midfield position. Reigning defensive midfielder of the year, Preston Dabbs, and fellow four-year starter Davis Anderson combine with Ternahan to be one of, if not, the top defensive midfields in the country.
At the faceoff X this season, Duncan Campbell has won .628 percent of his draws (189-for-301), and leads the team in groundballs with 80.
How they got here
The Bobcats of Frostburg come in as the No. 4 team in the CAC tournament and made it into the semifinals with a 20-13 victory over CAC No. 5 University of Mary Washington at home.
Frostburg got four or more goals from three of its players in Tate Rolland (five goals), Ethan Aikin (four goals), and Spencer Love (four goals). The most dominant player for the Bobcats however was reigning CAC Offensive Player of the Week, Erik Geiser. Geiser won 21 of his 29 faceoffs while also scooping up a game-high seven groundballs and adding an assist.
The last time we met
The Gulls hosted Frostburg on Saturday, April 9 as a part of Salisbury's "Lax for Leukemia Youth Day", and played well in every aspect of the contest to pick up a 13-3 victory.
The starting seven in the defensive end for the Gulls all had tremendous games, only allowing Frostburg to muster up eight shots on cage throughout the contest. Leeds went for six caused turnovers and seven groundballs, and Tucker was able to hold the Bobcat's top mark, Love, to zero points; something that's only been done twice this season.
Salisbury got its 13 goals from nine different players, led by Nathan Blondino's three. Aside from Blondino, Cirillo and Dashiell were the other multiple-goal scorers.
Campbell went 11-for-17 on faceoffs in the matchup against Geiser, which was the only time all season that Geiser has had a faceoff percentage below .500.
Scouting the Bobcats
On the offensive side of the ball, Frostburg has five members with 35 or more points. Leading the pack is Love with his 34 goals and 26 assists for 60 points. Close behind Love, Frostburg has a pair of 46-point scorers in Rolland and Adam Gross. Rolland has 33 goals and 13 assist, while Gross has a 23-23 spilt between his goals and assists.
Salisbury, Maryland native, Tom Kraemer is the man between-the-pipes for Frostburg and has been among the top goalkeepers in the CAC, posting a .573 save percentage and a 6.46 goals-against average en route to his 14 wins thus far.
Geiser has been consistently among the top-three faceoff midfielders in the country this season as his .741 winning percentage has him in third nationally. Geiser has more than twice as many groundballs than any other Bobcat with 126.
Berkman's sharp shooters
This season Salisbury has been one of the best shooting teams in the nation as their .386 shooting percentage ranks second in the Division III. Improving game by game, Salisbury's shooting percentage has risen each month this season, going .343 percent in February, .394 percent in March, and .405 percent in April.
Kalama's .575 shooting percentage is good for fifth in the nation, while every Gull with 15 or more goals is shooting above a 30 percent clip.
The winner of the of the game between Salisbury and Frostburg will go on to face the victor of the other CAC semifinal contest between CAC No. 3 Christopher Newport University and CAC No.2 York College of Pennsylvania in the CAC championship game. The championship game is set for Saturday, April 30 with the higher seed hosting the contest at a time to be determined.