SALISBURY, Md. - The third-ranked Salisbury University men's lacrosse team hosts an NCAA Division III men's lacrosse quarterfinal matchup as it welcomes Denison University to Sea Gull Stadium on Wednesday, May 18 for a 7 p.m., showdown.
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How we got here
Salisbury moved onto the quarterfinal by taking down Colorado College, 16-5, in the second round on Saturday, May 11. The Tigers notched the first goal but it was all Salisbury from there on out, scoring the next five goals.
Nathan Blondino, Carson Kalama, James Burton, and Nick Garbarino all had at least four points in the win, led by Blondino's two-goal, three-assist performance. The five-point day brings his season point total to 91.
Andrew Ternahan and Kyle Tucker had strong days in the defensive end as Ternahan went for six groundballs and two caused turnovers, in addition to a goal and assist, while Tucker had five groundballs and four caused turnovers.
How they got here
Denison comes to Salisbury following a 12-3 victory over Aurora University in the second round.
The Big Red scored the game's first three goals, and outscored Aurora 7-1 in the second half en route to the victory.
Denison got its 12 goals from a balanced attack as Will Donohue, Liam Rooney, Blair Farinholt, Jake Waxter, and Alex Paulus all scored twice.
In net, Chris Thomas had a big day, stopping 10 shots and only allowing two goals to secure the victory.
Scouting the Big Red
Having only played in 15 of the games this season, Rooney leads the offensive charge for the Big Red as he leads the team in points with 62 (27 goals and 35 assists).
Seniors James Meager, Farinholt, and Nick Bortolani add depth to the offense with all of them having over 35 points on the season, led by Farinholt's 59 (35 goals and 24 assists).
Between the pipes, Thomas has had an impressive senior campaign, stopping .578 percent of the shots he has seen, while holding opponents to a 5.84 goals-against average in just under 1,000 minutes of time this season.
The last time we met
The Sea Gulls last faced off against the Big Red in 2014 under identical circumstances as the Big Red traveled to Sea Gull Stadium for an NCAA quarterfinal contest.
Salisbury took care of Denison to advance to the national semifinals with a big 15-5 victory. Ten members of the 2016 Salisbury men's lacrosse team saw the field that day.
All time, the teams have faced off 23 times, with the Gulls holding a 20-3 advantage; including winning the last four games against the Big Red.
Protecting the nest
With a long pedigree for success in the NCAA tournament, including its 10 national titles, the Gulls also have a long history of performing exceptionally well on its home turf.
Dating back to 2001, Salisbury is on a 34-game home win streak in NCAA tournament games. The last time the Gulls fell at home was May 12, 2001 when the Gulls fell at the hands of Denison.
The quarterfinal matchup features the team with the top winning percentage in the nation in Salisbury (.952 percent) against the team with the third-highest winning percentage in Denison (.947 percent) as the teams enter the game with a combined record of 38-2.
On the season, the teams have three common opponents: Roanoke College, Montclair State University, and Ohio Wesleyan University.
The Big Red's one loss came to common opponent, Roanoke, in the team's second game of the season, falling by one goal. The Gulls took down the Maroons, 14-6.
It took a Thomas Cirillo overtime goal to defeat Ohio Wesleyan for Salisbury, and in two games against the Battling Bishops, the Big Red have outscored them by three goals, including an overtime victory of their own.
Filling it up
Junior long-stick midfielder Andrew Ternahan has been filling the stat sheet with his name all season, on both ends of the field.
The first-team All-CAC midfielder leads the team in groundballs with 90, is tied with Tucker for the team lead in caused turnovers at 46. In the offensive end, he is shooting .667 percent as he also has six goals and seven assists this season.
The offensive game for Ternahan has been picking up as of late, averaging two points per game this NCAA tournament.
The winner of the quarterfinal contest will go onto the national semifinals and face the winner of the York College of Pennsylvania and Gettysburg College contest that York is hosting. Salisbury has played both the Spartans and Bullets already this season.