SALISBURY, Md. -The Salisbury University men's lacrosse team will take on Hampden-Sydney College on Saturday, May 13 at 1 p.m., at Sea Gull Stadium in an NCAA tournament third-round game.
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How we got here
Salisbury cruised to a 24-3 win over Misericordia University in its first NCAA game of the year to advance to the third round. The Cougars scored the game's first goal but Salisbury responded with a 13-goal run to shut the door on the game.
Carson Kalama had a stellar game with six goals and two assists, while his linemates Nathan Blondino and Nick Garbarino both added four goals in the win. Salisbury in all had six players score multiple goals.
The SU defense was as advertised, allowing just 12 shots on cage all game, clearing at a 93 percent clip, and winning the groundball battle, 52-24.
How they got here
The Tigers made the NCAA tournament by winning their fifth Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship. In their second-round game they hosted Transylvania University and won 23-8.
Duncan Morris set the tone early with two goals just 23 seconds into the game. The Tigers lost just three faceoffs all game while being on the winning side of the draw 27 times.
Scouting the Tigers
Juniors Hunter Brown leads the team with 84 points (41 goals and 43 assists), while the team has three players with exactly 53 goals on the season in Ian Levin (53 and 30 assists), Morris (53 and nine assists), and Chandler Shaheen (53 and six assists).
Perhaps the Tigers' biggest weapon is the faceoff tandem of Jared Arntzen (.670 percent) and Wilson Booth (.600 percent) who have combined for over 300 faceoff wins and 200 groundballs.
The last time we met
Salisbury opened its 2015-16 national championship season on the road against the Tigers and won 12-7. Blondino, Brendan Bromwell, and Garrett Reynolds all scored twice, while Kyle Tucker had a big game with six groundballs and four caused turnovers. Campbell won 11 of his 16 faceoffs with all of them coming against Arntzen and Booth.
Salisbury has been one of the nation's best clearing teams all season and ranks fourth in the nation in clearing as it has successfully cleared the ball .900 percent of the time.
Sitting at eighth nationally in fewest turnovers per game at 14.16, the starting defense of Aaron Leeds, Kyle Tucker, and Will Nowesnick has combined for just 25 turnovers all season. That same trio has also accounted for 92 caused turnovers.
The Gulls and Tigers have had six common opponents this season with Salisbury holding a 5-1 record against the six, while Hampden-Sydney has a 4-3 record after splitting a pair of games against Lynchburg College, with the win coming in the ODAC championship game.
The lone loss for SU on the season was a 11-10 overtime loss at Cabrini University, while the Tigers lost to Cabrini by a 15-6 final.
The Salisbury offense is full of fire power and brings its potent attack line as well as two full offensive midfield lines. The top nine offensive options for the Gulls all have at least 15 goals and 20 points on the season.
Of those top nine options seven of them are shooting above .300 percent and six of them have over 10 assists.
Kalama leads the scoring production with 57 goals, while Blondino has 111 points off 50 goals and 61 assists. No Gull is within 41 assists of Blondino as Bromwell sits in second with 20 helpers.
The winner of the third-round game will go on to the NCAA quarterfinals on Wednesday, May 17. The advancing team will take on the winner of the Cabrini University and Franklin & Marshall College third-round matchup.