SALISBURY, Md. - The Salisbury University men's lacrosse team will take on MAC -Freedom champions, Misericordia University on Wednesday, May 10 at Sea Gull Stadium in an NCAA second round matchup at 4 p.m.
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How we got here
The Sea Gulls come into the NCAA tournament with a 17-1 record after beating York College of Pennsylvania 15-5 in the Capital Athletic Conference championship game. With the 17-1 mark, the Gulls were awarded home field for the second-round game. Throughout the season, the Sea Gulls never dropped below No. 2 in the national rankings.
Salisbury has been clicking on both ends of the field with the team scoring 16.94 goals per game, while allowing its opponents to just score at a 6.42 goals per game clip. The offense has nine players with at least 15 goals on the season, while the team also has nine players with at least 30 groundballs.
How they got here
The Cougars have a quick turnaround as they made their way into the second round following a 9-7 win over Lasell College yesterday afternoon in both school's first ever NCAA lacrosse game.
The Cougars got out to a 6-2 lead at half and held on for the win as the Lasers provided some added excitement to the game with a late push. Chris Fleming led the offense with four points off two goals and two assists, while Matt Beck stopped 11 of the 18 shots he faced in the contest.
Scouting the Cougars
On the offensive end of the field, Fleming leads the Cougars with 56 points off 37 goals and 19 assists while boasting a shooting percentage just south of .400. Adding to the offense, Patrick Kellish also has over 50 points with 32 goals and 20 assists for 52 points.
With the win over Lasell, Beck moved to 12-0 on the season in cage and has stopped .575 percent of the shots fired on net all season.
The last time we met
Salisbury has never faced off against Misericordia so Wednesday will be the first meeting between the two teams in program history. The two sides did have one common opponent this season in Methodist Univerist and the Cougars fell 13-12 in double overtime, while SU took a 21-2 win.
When the 2017 men's lacrosse All-CAC teams were announced the Sea Gulls found themselves with the most selections when nine players were named to the All-CAC team. The group was led by Nathan Blondino as the CAC Player of the Year and he was joined on the first team by Brendan Bromwell, Carson Kalama, Aaron Leeds, Will Nowesnick, Andrew Ternahan, and Kyle Tucker, while Nick Garbarino and Troy Miller were named to the second team.
First game success
In his 29th season at the helm, Head Coach Jim Berkman has coached just one team that has not earned at least one win in the NCAA tournament. The lone Berkman-coached bunch that did not make it past the first game was in his inaugural season as the head coach in 1989.
Since the 1989 season, Salisbury has made the tournament every year, including winning 11 NCAA national championships.
Two sides of the story
Salisbury comes in as not just the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, but also ranking near the top of the nation in several major statistical categories on both sides of the ball.
On offense, Salisbury has the nation's fifth best scoring offense at 16.94 goals per game, while shooting at a .361 percent clip (third in the nation).
On the defensive end, the team's 6.44 goals against average is eighth in the nation and the team is clearing just under 90 percent at .898 (fourth in the nation).
The winner of the second-round game will go on to face the winner of the second-round matchup between Hampden-Sydney College and Transylvania University. The third-round game will take place on Saturday, May 13.