Men's lacrosse plays Denison with title game apperance on the line

Men's lacrosse plays Denison with title game apperance on the line

SALISBURY, Md. - The Salisbury University men's lacrosse team will host No. 7 Denison University in a national semifinal on Sunday, May 21 with the winner advancing to the national championship game. The game is set for 1 p.m.   

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How we got here
Salisbury hosted No. 9 Cabrini University on Wednesday, May 17 and outscored the visitors 5-1 in each of the first three quarters en route to a big 17-5 NCAA quarterfinal victory.

Carson Kalama and Nathan Blondino led the offense for the Gulls with Kalama notching six goals on 10 shots and Blondino posting seven points from two goals and five assists.

The SU defense locked the Cavaliers down and held them to just 15 shots on cage, led the groundball battle 47-30, and cleared the ball on 24 of their 25 attempts. Colin Reymann made 10 stops in cage to backstop the Gulls' defense.

How they got here
The Big Red hosted No. 16 Lynchburg College in their quarterfinal game and defeated the Hornets, 18-9. Spencer Butler and Alex Paulus both had hat tricks, while Liam Rooney went for one goal and five assists. Henry DeCamp won 22 of his 28 faceoffs to post a game-high 14 groundballs in the win.
     
Scouting the Big Red
Rooney has 122 points off 37 goals and 85 assists, while Butler boasts 64 goals and 17 assists for 81 points to lead Denison's offensive charge that is averaging over 18 goals per game.

Stephen Paras holds an 18-0 record in net for the Big Red and has a save percentage of .516. DeCamp is winning .644 percent of his faceoffs and leads the team with 131 groundballs.

The last time we met
The Gulls hosted Denison last season in a national quarterfinal and used a Tom Cirillo overtime tally to advance to the semifinals. Salisbury led 9-7 going into the fourth quarter but Rooney scored two of the team's three goals in the quarter to offset a Kalama marker and force overtime.

In all, Salisbury holds a 21-3 record over the Big Red that includes a five-game winning streak.

Protecting the nest
With a long pedigree for success in the NCAA tournament, including its 11 national titles, the Gulls also have a long history of performing exceptionally well on their home turf.

Dating back to 2001, Salisbury is on a 39-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.

Two of the best
Today's matchup features two of the top attackmen in the nation in Blondino and Rooney. Blondino leads the nation with 129 points, while Rooney sits at 122 which is third nationally. The 129 points for Blondino, followed by his 101-point season last year marks the first time since the legendary Jason Coffman wore the maroon and gold that a Sea Gull has posted back-to-back 100-point seasons.

Rooney sits first nationally with 4.47 assists per game, while his 6.42 points per game is third in the country. Blondino has 3.33 assists per game (fifth) and 6.14 points per game (fourth) to also have his name atop the national averages.

Thou shall not pass
The two keepers in the semifinal are both in the top five nationally for goals against per contest. Reymann is first in the country with his 6.10 goals against average, while Paras' 6.48 mark is good for fourth.

Also, the Salisbury defense is allowing just 6.48 goals against which slots them at fifth in the nation while the Big Red are eighth with their 6.84 mark.

What's next?
The winner of the semifinal will advance to the national championship game to be played in Foxborough, Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, May 28 at 5 p.m.  

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