Salisbury 11, Middlebury 10

May 29, 2005

PHILADELPHIA - When youve been to the NCAA championship game six times in seven years, its almost impossible to be considered underdogs. Third seed Middlebury College (17-3), however, entered the title game as heavy underdogs as they took on top seed Salisbury University (20-0), a team that has won an NCAA record 49-consecutive games en route to two consecutive national championships.

Unfortunately for Middlebury, old habits die hard.

Junior attacker, and Media, Pa., native Chris Phillips fired the game-winning goal past Middlebury goalie Alex Palmisano with 5.6 seconds remaining to lift Salisbury to an 11-10 win over a game Panthers squad and their third-consecutive Division III national championship.

I picked up the ground ball, explained Phillips, And looked at the clock. I saw 10 seconds left and I decided to go for the goal. I put my head down and got the shot off. It feels awesome.

Phillips is no stranger to heroics as he also scored the overtime, game-winning goal to defeat Middlebury in the national championship game two seasons ago. Although both were memorable, he enjoyed this championship-winning tally more because the game was played near his hometown and in his favorite stadium.

I was tossing around a football here yesterday after practice, he said. To be in this stadium with no fans around was awesome, but to see all of these fans was really something.

Despite Phillips heroics, it was Salisbury senior goaltender and first-team All American Dan Korpons play that garnered the most attention. His 12 saves, several of the spectacular variety, earned Korpon the Most Outstanding Player award and kept his team in the game as they struggled offensively for the first 54 minutes of play.

Ive been a fan of his for four years, said Salisbury Head Coach Jim Berkman. He got what he deserved today. Hes got no respect for four years. Im very proud of him and the way he played. He proved he was the best goalie in Division III.

Despite his superb effort, Korpon chose to view his efforts as just one part of a greater whole.

I didnt do anything out of the ordinary, said Korpon. I played a team game. I tried to do my part and everybody else did their part.

Salisbury started the game on a mission to prove to the record crowd of 20,803 fans exactly why they were the prohibitive favorites. Phillips and sophomore Eric Bishop each netted an early goal to stake the Sea Gulls to an early 2-0 lead. Both teams settled in after those tallies and exchanged several goals highlighted by Panthers attacker Jim Cabreras 36th of the season.

Junior Henry Sheehan and sophomore Nick Bastis fueled a Middlebury mini-run midway through the second quarter. Both players netted unassisted goals within a minute of each other to tie the game at 4-4 with just over seven minutes remaining. After a Mike Edwards goal restored the Sea Gulls lead, Sheehan connected on a brilliant Bastis feed to tie the game going into the half.

Salisburys leading scorer Justin Smith commenced third quarter scoring when he fired a laser shot behind Palmisano for his 49th goal of the season. When his teammate Matt Dasinger tallied less than two minutes later, it appeared theat the Sea Gulls might take control of the game.

Middlebury, however, responded one more time with a three-goal run at the end of the quarter to take their first lead. Aaron Herter, Peter Mellen, and Bastis each scored in a five-minute span that saw Middlebury dominate their widely heralded, undefeated opponent.

I was really proud of my guys, said Middlebury Head Coach Erin Quinn. We played hard throughout and stayed with a great team to the end.

In the end, however, the Sea Gulls extended their winning streak to 49 games, the longest current streak in Division III athletics and the longest ever in any NCAA division, with three unanswered goals in the final six minutes, capped by Phillips game-winner. Salisbury also picked up its sixth national championship, all of which have come with Jim Berkman at the controls.

We have a lot of pride and tradition, said Berkman. The kids know when they put on the maroon and gold jersey that they have a responsibility to the guys that played here before them.

With their third consecutive championship, this senior class has not only met the standard of their predecessors at Salisbury, but also exceeded it.

Lacrosse Box Score
                           Lacrosse Box Score (Final)
                            2005 NCAA Championships
           Middlebury vs Salisbury (May 29, 2005 at Philadelphia, PA)

Middlebury (17-2) vs.                             SCORE BY PERIOD       1  2  3  4  Tot
Salisbury (20-0)                                  -------------------------------------
Date: May 29, 2005  Attendance:                   Middlebury..........  2  3  3  2 - 10
Weather: mid 70s, sunny                           Salisbury...........  3  2  2  4 - 11

Middlebury SCORING: GOALS: Nick Bastis 3; Henry Sheehan 2; Dave Leach 1; Jim
Cabrera 1; Aaron Herter 1; Mark Foster 1; Peter Mellen 1.
ASSISTS: Nick Bastis 1; Jim Cabrera 1; Jamie Duke 1; Dave Leach 1.

Salisbury SCORING: GOALS: Jimmy Creighton 2; Chris Phillips 2; Mike Hurley 1;
Eric Bishop 1; Justin Smith 1; Casey Olejniczak 1; Mike Edwards 1; Matt Dasinger
1; Jeff Bigas 1.
ASSISTS: Dan Boyer 2; Mike Hurley 2; Eric Bishop 1.

SHOTS BY PERIOD       1  2  3  4  Tot
Middlebury.......... 15  7  6 11 - 39
Salisbury...........  9  7  9  8 - 33

GROUND BALLS BY PRD   1  2  3  4  Tot
Middlebury.......... 17 12 11 10 - 50
Salisbury...........  7 10  9 11 - 37

FACE-OFFS BY PRD       1     2     3     4     Total
Middlebury..........  4-6   5-6   4-5   5-7  - 18-24
Salisbury...........  2-6   1-6   1-5   2-7  -  6-24

CLEARS BY PERIOD       1     2     3     4     Total
Middlebury..........  5-5   4-5   3-4   2-2  - 14-16
Salisbury...........  4-4   5-5   5-6   5-6  - 19-21

EXTRA-MAN OPPS         1     2     3     4     Total
Middlebury..........  0-0   0-1   0-0   0-0  -  0-1
Salisbury...........  1-1   0-1   0-3   1-1  -  2-6

SAVES BY PERIOD       1  2  3  4  Tot
Middlebury..........  2  2  3  1 -  8
Salisbury...........  5  1  1  5 - 12

TURNOVERS BY PRD      1  2  3  4  Tot
Middlebury..........  2  9  8  3 - 22
Salisbury...........  4  6  4  4 - 18

PENALTIES - MID 6/4:30; SAL 1/0:30.
Officials: Tim Murray; George Wattles; Bill Devine.

-- Courtesy Salisbury Athletics