Salisbury routs Tufts in title game
Bradman sets record for most goals in championship game
BALTIMORE – Salisbury claimed the program's ninth national championship with a 19-7 victory against Tufts University in the 2011 Division III men's lacrosse national championship game in front of 18,086 in attendance on Sunday evening at M&T Bank Stadium.
The 12-goal margin of victory is the most significant in any of the Sea Gulls' nine national championship wins. All nine national championships have come under the reign of 23-year head coach Jim Berkman. Sunday's game was a rematch of the 2010 national championship game, which the Jumbos won 9-6 to claim their first national championship.
"I have been waiting three years for this moment," said midfielder Sam Bradman on winning the national championship game en route to being named the game's Most Outstanding Player. He posted a game-high eight points on seven goals and one assist. The seven goals scored is a single-game record for a Salisbury player in the national championship game, as Bradman surpassed former Sea Gull Sean Radebaugh's (1995) six markers. Bradman fell one point shy of matching Radebaugh's nine points set in the 1995 national championship game against Nazareth College.
"First of all, congratulations to Tufts. They have played an outstanding season and a two-year run," Berkman said. "We had three basic things that helped us to succeed [Sunday]: transition defense, covering the crease and dodging-and-feeding and I think our guys really executed those things [Sunday]."
The Jumbos (18-3) won the game's first face-off and quickly entered the offensive restraining box. Tufts midfielder Matt Witko fired off a shot but it was blocked by SU senior defender Collin Tokosch before goalkeeper Johnny Rodriguez scooped up the groundball to start the clear. The Sea Gulls (21-1) tallied their first goal of the game at the 13:18 mark as Bradman took a feed from sophomore midfielder Ryan Clarke and unleashed a shot into the top-left corner of the goal. The Sea Gulls followed up with a pair goals coming from the crease, with attackmen Matt Cannone and Tony Mendes netting goals. The three early goals forced the Tufts coaching staff to call a timeout.
Following the timeout, the Jumbos tallied their first goal with Geordie Schafer finishing off an assist from D.J. Hessler. Salisbury closed out the first quarter with goals from Bradman, Cannone and senior midfielder Spencer Smith to take a 6-1 lead; the 6-1 lead was the same score at the end of the first quarter of the 2010 national championship, only with the Jumbos ahead.
Tufts kicked off the second quarter with a pair of goals in the first four minutes to cut the deficit to three, but Mendes ended the run with an unassisted goal with 10:19 remaining in the frame. The Sea Gulls closed out the first half with unassisted goals from junior attackman Erik Krum, Bradman and Clarke to bolster the lead to 9-3 in favor of the maroon and gold.
At the half, Salisbury outshot Tufts 27-14, picked up 18 groundballs compared to 10 for the Jumbos and won 8 of 14 faceoffs.
Clarke tallied his second goal of the contest nearly two minutes into the second half to create a 10-3 lead for Salisbury, before the Jumbos responded with goals from Hessler and a man-up goal from Ryan Molloy. Bradman ended the quarter with his fourth goal of the game, handing SU an 11-5 advantage.
The Sea Gulls added eight goals in the final quarter, which were the most goals in a quarter by Salisbury in a national championship game since the 1995 title game. Bradman posted the first two goals of the quarter, then closed out the scoring for the Sea Gulls with a man-up goal off an assist from midfielder Shawn Zordani with 2:41 remaining.
Bradman finished with eight points, which matched his career-high. Cannone (two goals, one assist) and Clarke (one goal, two assists) each collected three points, while Mendes (two goals) followed shortly behind with two points.
Rodriguez, recently named the Division III National Goalkeeper of the Year, claimed the victory with four saves. He left the game with cramps after 47 minutes, allowing goalkeeper Tim Swinburn (three saves) to close out the contest.
Tufts' Hessler posted a team-high five points on two goals and three assists. Molloy recorded two goals for the Jumbos.
Tufts goalkeeper Patton Watkins played the first 23 minutes of the game while registering four saves, before being replaced by senior Steven Foglietta (three saves).