SALISBURY, Md. – The top-ranked Salisbury University men's lacrosse team hosted No. 9 Cabrini University at Sea Gull Stadium on Wednesday night in an NCAA quarterfinal and took down the Cavaliers, 17-5 to advance to the semifinals.
With the win Salisbury Head Coach Jim Berkman earned his 500th victory at Salisbury. Berkman is the first ever NCAA lacrosse coach to record 500 wins at any institution, as he is the only NCAA coach across all divisions and genders to record 500 wins overall.
The defense had a signature performance with the unit clicking on all cylinders. The defense held Cabrini to just 15 shots on net all game and cleared on 24 of its 25 attempts. Kyle Tucker had a game-high seven groundballs to go with two caused turnovers, while line mate Will Nowesnick had five groundballs and two caused turnovers.
Between the pipes for Salisbury, Colin Reymann stopped .750 percent of his shots as 10 of the Cabrini shots were turned aside by the senior goaltender.
The Gulls struck first as after a long possession Brendan Bromwell was posted up on the left wing and found Nick Garbarino open on the crease for the easy tally. Adam Huber then added a goal as he swept over the defense and found twine before the away side tacked on its first of the day.
Garbarino finished with two goals and three assists for five points. Bromwell also ended with three assists, while line mate Josh Melton posted one goal and one assist.
After the Cavaliers cut the lead in half, the Gulls got a caused turnover from Jeremiah LaClair that Nowesnick scooped to start the quick transition. From Nowesnick it went to Parker Stevens who charged downfield to find Nathan Blondino. Blondino tossed it to an open Carson Kalama on the crease and the senior buried it from a severe angle off to the goalies' right.
Salisbury would get additional goals in the quarter from Garrett Reynolds and Blondino to give SU a 5-1 advantage at the end of 15 minutes.
Cabrini opened the second quarter scoring but Huber struck at 11:11 for the game-winning goal and Salisbury closed out the half on a 5-0 run. Salisbury outscored the Cavaliers 5-1 in both quarters of the first half. The last goal of the half came as Leeds stripped his man in the Cabrini offensive zone and started a fast break that ended with Stevens finding Andrew Ternahan who scorched it past the keeper from 12 yards out with his long pole.
At the break, SU was outshooting Cabrini 22-16 and had a 19-16 edge in groundballs. Also in the first half, the Gulls' defense held Cabrini to just seven shots on cage.
After the opening half, Kalama had already notched a hat trick, while Blondino had five points from one goal and four assists. Kalama would finish with six goals off 10 shots and Blondino concluded the contest with seven points.
With seven points, Blondino moves his season total to 129 and he is now the nation's leading scorer.
Salisbury got the first three goals of the third quarter to stretch its run to eight straight goals and bring the score to 13-3. On the Gulls' 12th goal Zach Pompea made the most of his opportunity to get on the field when he isolated his man on the high left wing and used a vicious split dodge to create all the space he could want before putting home the low strike.
Salisbury once again outscored Cabrini 5-1 in the third quarter with Kalama closing out the quarter with a pair of goals. The last one came as Blondino had the ball outside the restraining box near goal-line extended and rifled a pass to the crease that got past the Cabrini defenders' sticks for Kalama to quick stick in with the clock reading all zeroes to end the quarter.
Up 15-3 going into the fourth, Salisbury opted to slow the pace and eventually each team struck twice before game's end to bring the quarterfinal to an end.
Salisbury will now go onto face Denison University in the NCAA semifinals that will take place on Sunday, May 21, with the winner earning a spot in the national championship game.