Men's lacrosse set to host CAC No. 4 Mary Washington on Saturday

Men's lacrosse set to host CAC No. 4 Mary Washington on Saturday

SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's lacrosse team earned the top seed in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament and will face fourth-seeded University of Mary Washington on Saturday, April 22 at Sea Gull Stadium. Faceoff is set for 4 p.m.

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How we got here

Salisbury got the top seed in the tournament after going 8-0 in regular-season conference play with no team getting within seven goals of the defending national champions. Salisbury comes into the tournament averaging 16.75 goals per game, including a 21.25 goals per game mark in CAC play. On the other end of the field, the Salisbury defense is letting in just 6.35 goals against per contest and has caused 191 turnovers in 16 games.

How they got here

The Eagles made their way to the semifinals after taking down fifth-seeded Frostburg State University by an 11-9 margin at home. Mike Marson, Shane McKenzie, and Robert Tata all scored twice to lead the Eagles in the first-round contest. Billy Senicola made the start in net and stopped 10 shots, while Eli Ayer continued his strong season at the faceoff X, winning 18-of-23 faceoffs and scooping up 10 groundballs.

The last time we met

The two sides met on Saturday, March 18 and Salisbury picked up a 17-5 win at Sea Gull Stadium. Mary Washington was ahead 2-1 after the first quarter but Salisbury rebounded to go up 7-3 by halftime.

The starting attack of Nathan Blondino (one goal and six assists), Nick Garbarino (five goals), and Carson Kalama (five goals) all had dominant performances as they combined for 17 points in the win.

Defensively, Andrew Ternahan had a career day with eight groundballs and five casued turnovers with the defense only allowing nine shots on cage all game.

Scouting the Eagles

The Eagles' offense has been led by Miles Davis and his 53 points (19 goals and 34 assists) with the team averaging 10.81 goals per game on 38.6 shots per game. Davis is joined by fellow senior Marson on the attack with Marson being the second leading scorer on the squad with 36 goals and 12 assists.

Eli Ayers is one of the most valuable assets for the Eagles with his 129 groundballs and 217 faceoffs won off a .596 winning percentage. Senicola has started the last 10 games for the Eagles in net and despite his 51.0 save percentage, has stopped over that mark his last four games.

Senior-laden attack

The starting attack for Salisbury that consists of seniors Blondino, Garbarino, and Kalama are the three leading scorers for the Gulls and have combined for 206 points so far this season. Blondino leads the way with 90 points to go along with a team-high 53 assists.

With Blondino as the facilitator, Garbarino and Kalama have been his sure-handed finishers. Garbarino and Kalama are both shooting over 52 percent after Kalama led the nation last season, shooting 57.7 percent. Garbarino has 42 goals and a 60.9 shooting percentage, while Kalama has 48 goals and an impressive 39 groundballs on the season.

Keeping the Eagles at bay

Mary Washington will have a tough test scoring on Salisbury. The Sea Gulls come into the semifinal contest with the eighth best scoring defense in the nation at 6.35 goals against per game and have been causing 11.94 turnovers per game (13th in the nation).

Will Nowesnick (2.25 per game) and Andrew Ternahan (1.87 per game) are one and two in the CAC in caused turnovers per contest to lead the CAC's top defensive unit.

In cage, Colin Reymann has stopped .553 percent of the shots on cage this season, while his 6.38 goals against average tops the CAC.

What's next?

The winner of the CAC semifinal game in Salisbury will take on the winner of the CAC semifinal being played at York College of Pennsylvania between second-seeded York and third-seeded Christopher Newport University. Should Salisbury win, it would host the championship contest. If the Eagles win they would go on the road to the winner of the other CAC semifinal game.

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