SALISBURY, Md. – The second-ranked Salisbury University men's lacrosse program welcomes No. 6 Cabrini University for a showdown in the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse National Semifinals on Sunday, May 19 at 5 p.m.
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How we got here
The Sea Gulls advanced to the national semifinal behind a dominant, 19-10, victory against No. 9 Denison University on May 15. Cross Ferrara finished the game with a team-high six points, as he netted five markers to go along with one assist. Overall, nine different players scored goals for the maroon and gold, while 13 of the team's 19 markers were unassisted efforts, including the first seven Sea Gull goals of the evening.
How they got here
Cabrini advanced to its first-ever national semifinal in thrilling fashion as the Cavaliers downed No. 4 York College of Pennsylvania, 11-10, in overtime. The Cavaliers used a six-goal fourth quarter to rally back from a 7-4 deficit to force the extra period and earn the hard fought win. Mike Gerzabek, who finished the night with two goals, scored late in the fourth quarter to level the game at 9-9 before winning the game in overtime to punch Cabrini's ticket to the national semifinals.
Scouting the Cavaliers
Cabrini is led by Atlantic East Conference Player of the Year Jordan Krug. Krug has totaled 100 points thus far in 2019, netting a team-best 66 goals while dishing out 34 assists. Krug leads an offensive attack that is averaging 18.65 goals per game in 2019, which ranks ninth in the country, while the team's 27.43 points per game mark ranks 10th. Defensively, the team is led by Tommy DeLuca, who has caused 58 turnovers this season, averaging 2.63 per game, ranking him 21st in the nation. The team as a whole is allowing a mark of 6.31 goals against, which ranks first in the AEC and third in the nation. Senior goalie Riley White has been exceptional between the pipes for the Cavaliers as well, posting a goals against average of 6.07, which ranks second in Division III.
This will be the 12th time that Salisbury and Cabrini have met and first time in the NCAA tournament since 2017, when the programs met in the quarterfinal round. The two teams met earlier this season in Radnor, Pennsylvania with the Sea Gulls earning a 13-5 victory over the Cavaliers. Salisbury has an overall record of 10-1 in the series match-up.
Plug and Krug
Cabrini has dominated teams this season, scoring double-digit goals in all but two games in 2019, which came in its two losses against York, 11-7, and Salisbury, 13-5. Krug has been the leader of the offense, tallying at least one point in 21 of the Cavaliers' 22 games thus far. He has registered five or more points 12 times this season, including a season-best 11 against Gwynedd Mercy University. In 14 of 22 games this season, Krug has netted three or more markers, including a season-best six against Haverford College.
A-Cross the spectrum
Ferrara has raised his offensive performance to new heights since the playoffs started for the maroon and gold. Since April 27, Ferrara has netted 21 goals and totaled 24 points in six games. Three times in both the Capital Athletic Conference playoffs and NCAA tournament Ferrara has finished as the team leader in points or goals, including registering six points in games against Southern Virginia University and No. 9 Denison, netting five markers while dishing out an assist. He is currently tied for the team-lead in goals with 66 while his 80 total points ranks third.
As defined by Webster's Dictionary, if something can go wrong it will. Kevin Murphy has been vital for the Salisbury defense this season and in particular this post season as the unit is holding opponents to a goals against average of 7.66 since April 27. During the run Murphy has caused 14 turnovers and scooped up 15 groundballs. Murphy has played a key role during the playoff run in limiting the success of the opponent's top offensive players, especially in the NCAA tournament. Against SUNY Maritime the Sea Gull defense limited Matt DeMeo to just three points, a player that had been averaging 5.44 points per game. In the third round win over University of Lynchburg Murphy and the defense held both Evan Lombardo and Kevin Rogers to a combined four points. In the most recent contest against Denison the defense and Murphy once again kept the scoring threats in check as Peter Pittroff, Spencer Butler, and Brooks Davy combined for eight points with Butler being held out of the goal column for the first time all season.
The winner of the contest will advance to the 2019 NCAA Division III National Championship at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Sunday, May 26 at 4 p.m. Either Cabrini or Salisbury will take on the winner out of the North, No. 7 Amherst College or No. 5 Williams College.