SALISBURY, Md. -The third-ranked Salisbury University men's lacrosse team welcomes Colorado College to Sea Gull Stadium on Saturday, May 14 for a 3 p.m., NCAA second-round showdown.
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How we got here
The Gulls advanced to the second round following a big 19-6 victory over the Catholic University of America in an NCAA first-round contest that the Gulls hosted.
Salisbury got out to a quick 4-0 lead but the Cardinals fought back to bring the score to 5-4 at the end of the opening quarter. However, at the start of the second, Salisbury went on an 11-0 run to silence the Landmark Conference champions.
Nathan Blondino had a historic day as the junior attackman went for one goal and eight assists. The eight assists marked the first time a member of the men's lacrosse program has gotten eight assists since Jason Coffman did so in the 1996 season with a 14-assist outing.
Defensively, Kyle Tucker had a great performance, holding the Cardinals' leading scorer to zero goals for just the second time all season. Davis Anderson and Andrew Ternahan both had big days at the defensive midfield as Anderson added six groundballs and three caused turnovers, while Ternahan had four groundballs and three caused turnovers, in addition to one goal and one assist.
How they got here
Having played the Poets of Whittier College for three-straight games, the Tigers took down the Poets by an 11-10 overtime final in the NCAA first round to advance to their matchup with Salisbury.
Eric Neumeyer sent the Tigers to the next round as he scored the game-winning goal just 28 seconds into the first overtime period to give the program its first ever postseason victory.
Trailing 8-2 at halftime, the Tigers staged the comeback by getting four-straight goals in the last nine and a half minutes of the fourth quarter to force overtime. Also down the stretch, senior keeper Chase Murphy made six of his 11 stops on the day in the fourth quarter.
Scouting the Tigers
The Tigers are led by an offense that puts up 12.56 goals per contest, while allowing 9.19.
Colorado College has three main weapons on the offensive side of the ball in Austin Davie, Tyle Borko, and Robert Stern. Davie leads the team with 62 points, coming from 51 goals and 11 assists. Borko and Stern follow Davie as the team's top options, with Borko at 45 points (24 goals and 21 assists) and Stern at 42 points (27 goals and 15 assists).
In net, Murphy has stopped .597 percent of the shots he has seen this season en route to a 9.28 goals-against average.
The last time we met
Salisbury and Colorado College last met on March 20, 2013 and the Gulls came away with a 9-4 victory in Salisbury.
All time, the schools have met twice, with the other meeting coming in Merit Island, Fla., on March 17, 2009 when the Gulls came away with a convincing 15-2 victory.
Dishing it out
Salisbury leads the nation in assists with 216 as James Burton (44 assists) and Nathan Blondino (41 assists) top the list.
When Burton got his 40th assist on the season, he became the first 40-assist player for the Gulls since the 2012 season when Matt Cannone dished out 67 helpers.
Now with Blondino coming off an eight-assist outing that has him at 41 on the season, it is the first time the Gulls have had two 40-assist players since the 1995 season where Jason Coffman had 55, Paul Smith had 46, and Sean Radebaugh added 42 for the national championship squad.
One of the top teams in the nation at both causing turnovers and getting groundballs, last game Salisbury managed to cause 15 turnovers and scoop up 58 groundballs in the win.
Salisbury also boasts six players with at least 45 groundballs: Ternahan (84), Duncan Campbell (83), Tucker (57), Anderson (55), Kalama (48), and Leeds (47).
A potent quartet
Salisbury has four players with over 65 points this season as a part of one of the nation's highest scoring offenses.
Blondino leads the way with 86 points on a balanced 45 goals and 41 assists. Thomas Cirillo, with 50 goals and 27 assists sits at 77 points, while Kalama joins him in the 70-point range with 52 goals and 18 assists (70 points).
Coming off a four-point performance, Burton sits at 66 points on the season off of 22 goals and 44 assists.
The winner of today's game will advance to the NCAA quarterfinals and take on the winner of Denison University and Aurora University on Wednesday, May 18