May 19, 2010

SALISBURY, Md. - It was undoubtedly one of the most heated men's lacrosse games played at Sea Gull Stadium this season. In an NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse quarterfinal contest between the No. 2 Salisbury University Sea Gulls and the No. 11 Haverford Fords which was tied eight times, the Sea Gulls came from behind and prevailed in a thrilling 12-11 overtime victory.

Salisbury (20-1) opened up the scoring, quickly netting two goals within just six seconds of each other; the second of those goals was a one-man play as senior midfielder Ryan Finch (Finksburg, Md.) won his face-off and sprinted down field for the score. Undeterred, the Fords ticked off the next three straight goals to take a one-score lead into the second quarter.

Haverford (12-6) would strike first in the second quarter to take a 4-2 lead over the Gulls, but Salisbury quickly settled and netted three consecutive goals to regain the lead. The next two scores belonged to Haverford, though, and the Fords took a 6-5 lead going into halftime.

The Sea Gulls refused to trail. Senior attackman Jake DeLillo (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) fired a shot just 17 seconds into the third quarter past Ford keeper Joe Banno to knot up the game once again. The back-and-forth play continued as both teams rushed up the field, scoring one goal before allowing the other team to score.

With just 33 seconds left in the contest and the Fords holding an 11-10 lead, it looked as if Salisbury wouldn't have the opportunity to play for the program's ninth national championship. Junior midfielder Shawn Zordani (Littleton, Colo.) thought otherwise. He ripped a shot past Banno to tie up the contest at 11 apiece. Sea Gull fans erupted in celebration.

That celebration, though, would pale in comparison to the roar that would ensue after Finch won his 18th face-off of the day, tore down the field and netted the game-winning goal just 12 seconds into the overtime period. The goal, his second of the day, earned the Gulls what will be the program's 19th NCAA tournament semifinal appearance.

Four Sea Gulls scored two goals each in the victory: Zordani, sophomore attackman Matt Cannone (Bayport, N.Y.), senior midfielder Mike Von Kamecke (Winter Park, Fla.) and Finch, whose two goals mark a new career high for the senior. Salisbury outshot Haverford 37-35, and junior goalkeeper Johnny Rodriguez (Gambrills, Md.) posted 10 saves.

Salisbury will host Stevenson University, which defeated Roanoke College in overtime to advance, in an NCAA semifinal contest. The Sea Gulls and Mustangs have met twice before this season; Salisbury prevailed in the first contest, 16-10, before falling to Stevenson in the CAC championship game. The date and time of the game have yet to be determined; check back on www.suseagulls.com for updates.