YORK, Pa. – In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Capital Athletic Conference, the fourth Silver Anniversary Team to be announced by the league is for men's soccer, and Salisbury University had seven student-athletes named to the team on Thursday.
The Sea Gulls have made quite an impact in the CAC since their entrance to the league in 1994, claiming seven conference championships and sporting a 123-20-4 record for a .850 winning percentage. In the past 20 years, Salisbury has played 17 of those seasons going undefeated or losing just one match through the regular season.
Donning the maroon and gold from 1993-96, Matt Tirschman helped Salisbury in a big way on the attack in the years entering the CAC. For his career, Tirschman played in 75 matches, recording 97 points, which is fourth best in program history. Scoring 35 goals for No. 8 on the career records' list, he added 27 assists to land No. 3 in program history. An All-American selection in 1995, Tirschman was named Player of the Year in the conference his senior year, while being named first-team All-CAC for the first three years in the league.
Darren LaRocque played for the Sea Gulls from 1997-98 and 2000-01, playing in 79 games. Receiving Rookie of the Year by the league in '97, LaRocque earned a spot on the All-CAC first team three times, while receiving second team once. As a defender, he still made his way up front for seven goals and five assists for 19 points in his career. LaRocque was also an All-American in 2001 and a three-time All-Region selection in '98, 2000-01.
Joining LaRocque on the field for three years was Paul Kelly, who made a presence on the offensive side of the field from 1998-01. Playing in 77 matches, Kelly finds himself No. 3 all-time in program history in points scored in a career with 100. With a career best in his freshman year with 14 goals, while adding seven helpers, he earned Rookie of the Year in the league. Kelly was placed on the All-CAC first team for his first three years with the Sea Gulls. Scoring 36 goals and an additional 28 assists, he is No. 7 and No. 2 in program history, respectively.
Jason Cranford protected the net for Salisbury from 2002-05, tending goal for 64 games for a total of 5,383:15 minutes. Through four seasons, Cranford only allowed 32 goals for a career goals-against average of 0.53, which is fourth best in program history. Collecting an overall record of 49-7-7 with 32.5 shutouts, he landed on the All-CAC first team three-consecutive years to end his career. Cranford would also earn a spot on the All-Region team in 2003 and '04.
The Sea Gulls saw great action on both ends of the field from 2006-09, with Justin McGrath holding down the backline and Kyle Sterling being a force to reckon with on the attack. McGrath played in 78 matches for Salisbury. A three-time first-team All-CAC selection from 2007-09, McGrath recorded three assists through his career from the backline.
Sterling will go down as one of the most decorated players in program history for the Sea Gulls, playing in 80 games. In his sophomore year, he recorded his best season with 18 goals and 11 assists for 47 points, which ranks No.2, No. 3, and No. 1 in the program's individual season records, respectively. For his career, Sterling scored 50 times to fall just four short of the top spot in program history. With 29 helpers to total 129 points through four seasons, the attacker sits atop the record book in both categories for Salisbury. The only Sea Gull in program history to be named an All-American twice, Sterling was the CAC Player of the Year his senior season while earning first-team All-CAC his final three years.
Mike Napolitano donned the maroon and gold from 2007-10, playing in 75 games for the Sea Gulls. Competing alongside teammates Sterling and McGrath for his first three seasons, Napolitano tallied 28 goals and 13 assists for 69 points for his career. Of his 28 goals, 11 were game winners. A three-time All-CAC first-team selection, he fired 155 shots with 73 on target for a .471 shots-on-goal percentage.
To see the entire CAC Silver Anniversary Men's Soccer Team, click here.
About the CAC Silver Anniversary Teams
The CAC Silver Anniversary Teams will be announced early in the regular-season for each respective sport. Each Silver Anniversary Team honoree will receive a commemorative gift from the conference, and many will be recognized by their institution/alma mater at some time during the academic year.
The University of Mary Washington, a charter member of the CAC, led the conference with 153 current and former student-athletes on the Silver Anniversary Teams, including 40 in men's and women's tennis combined. Salisbury University, which joined the CAC in the 1994-95 athletic season, was second with 121 Silver Anniversary Team honorees. CAC charter members York College of Pa. (59) and St. Mary's College of Md. (35) were next in line for most Silver Anniversary Team honorees.
The CAC was organized as a six-team affiliation in 1989 and began championship competition with the winter sports during the 1990-91 season. Membership changes in the last decade ultimately created a 10-team conference that has become one of the strongest in NCAA Division III.
CAC teams have won 18 national team championships, and dozens of other teams have finished in among the top four in NCAA Division III competition.