March 28, 2009

Courtesy of Salisbury

SALISBURY, Md. - For the first time in seven years the Salisbury University men's lacrosse team lost at home as No. 16 Gettysburg College stunned the top-ranked Sea Gulls, 11-10, on Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 840 at Sea Gull Stadium.

The loss ends Salisbury's 55-game winning streak, the second longest in NCAA lacrosse history. SU, the eight-time NCAA Division III national champions, also hold the all-time winning streak record (69 games) and third all-time (47 games). The last team to beat Salisbury at home was Lynchburg College, 13-12, on April 10, 2003. Since that loss to the Hornets, SU won 87 consecutive regular-season games and 80 straight at Sea Gull Stadium, both marks are all-time records in NCAA lacrosse history (any division).

"It was a great game. We knew this would be a big game," said SU coach Jim Berkman, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA men's lacrosse history. "We need to look at the positives of this loss. Let's celebrate the fact that we won 55 games in a row, 80 games at home."

Salisbury (10-1), the two-time defending national champions, never led in the game as Gettysburg (6-3) scored three goals in the decisive fourth quarter. The Sea Gulls scored back-to-back goals at the end of the third quarter off the sticks of freshman midfielder Sam Bradman (two goals, one assist) and freshman attackman Matt Cannone (two goals) to the knot the game, 8-8, for the fourth time. Gettysburg regained the lead early in the fourth when midfielders Kyle McGrath and Andrew Ryan scored their second goals of the game. SU pulled to within one, 10-9, at the 7:26 mark when junior attackman Mike Winter scored his second goal of the half off an assist from junior midfielder Mike Von Kamecke (two goals, two assist). The Bullets answered again when sophomore attackman Chris Cahill scored his second goal of the game, the eventual game-winner, with three minutes left in the game.

Gettysburg had the opportunity to run the clock out but junior attackman Josh Reichert (one goal) turned the ball over at the 1:18 mark. SU converted the clear attempt (18-for-19) and then drew a tripping penalty from senior midfielder Tom O'Donnell at the one minute mark. SU scored its third man-up goal 17 seconds later when Von Kamecke finished a feed from senior attackman Stephen Krasco. SU won the ensuing face-off as junior midfielder Ryan Finch (13-for-20) beat Gettysburg midfielder Tim Stanton (7-for-14) and Von Kamecke scooped up the ground ball. SU raced into the attack zone and tried to find an open player. Junior attackman Jake DeLillo threw a pass wide left of the Bullet goal but the ball remained in-bounds. Bullet goalie Zach Furshman (nine saves) beat out a Sea Gull for the loose ball with 24 seconds left. Gettysburg converted the clear (20-for-21) as time expired. The Bullet bench emptied onto the field as Gettysburg celebrated the streak-ending victory.

"Whenever you can beat a program like Salisbury, who is coached by a great coach in Jim Berkman, it is a great accomplishment," said Gettysburg coach Hank Janczyk.

The Bullets began the season ranked No. 2 in the preseason polls but suffered losses against No. 2 Stevenson University, No. 7 SUNY Cortland and No. 14 Haverford before they faced Salisbury.

"We have been playing up and down all season. We have been trying to find ourselves. Things worked out our way today," said Janczyk, now in his 22nd season at Gettysburg.

Gettysburg jumped out to a 2-0 lead four and a half minutes into the game. Salisbury got on the scoreboard seconds later (10:26 mark) when the Sea Gulls won the face-off, Von Kamecke scooped up the ground ball and went right to the goal and threw a behind-the-back shot past Furshman.

SU tied the game at 3-3 just 28 seconds into the start of the second quarter as Winter scored off an assist from Bradman. The Bullets responded with two goals before SU closed out the quarter with two goals in one minute. Sophomore Erik Krum scored an unassisted goal with 1:02 to go before the half. A Gettysburg penalty allowed the Sea Gulls to score its first extra-man goal when senior All-American midfielder Kylor Berkman (one goal, one assist) scored off an assist from Von Kamecke with 31 seconds left as the teams entered intermission knotted at 5-5.

SU outshot Gettysburg 39-25, scooped up 34 ground balls to the Bullets' 27 and won 14-of-24 face-offs. Salisbury finished 3-for-5 on extra-man opportunities while Gettysburg scored two extra-man goals in five chances. Salisbury turned the ball over 18 times which was one more than Gettysburg. Salisbury sophomore goalie Johnny Rodriguez (five saves) suffered his first loss as a Sea Gull.

The setback is the first SU has experienced since the 2006 national title game where the Gulls lost 13-12 in overtime to SUNY Cortland. There are only two Sea Gull players on this year's team in Berkman and senior defenseman Kevin Maynard who were members of that team. The two co-captains are now 75-2 in their SU careers with two one-goal losses. For the rest of Salisbury's roster this is their first loss in college as a Sea Gull.

"The streak can't go on forever," said Maynard after the game. "It is a loss. We just have to rebound like we did the last time we lost."

Salisbury had won the past nine games against Gettysburg as the two teams met for the 25th time in series history today. This is Gettysburg's first win over the Sea Gulls on the road since a 10-8 victory on April 3, 1999. SU holds a 19-6 series advantage and are 12-4 at home all-time against the Bullets since they first met in 1992.

Ironically, the final score today was the same the last time these two teams met in the 2008 NCAA Division III national semifinals. Berkman scored the game-winner in double overtime to send the Sea Gulls to their sixth straight national title game. In fact, for the past 10 years the representative from the South Region in the NCAA national title game has been Salisbury or Gettysburg.

"They came out well prepared.  They had some fuel with the loss in last year's national semifinals," said Kylor Berkman. "We will see them again. Hopefully next time we will get the better of them."

NOTES: The game featured the two winningest active coaches in NCAA men's lacrosse history. Coach Berkman is 340-36 in 22 seasons for his career while Coach Jancyzk is now 320-97 in 27 seasons. Jancyzk coached three seasons at Salisbury from 1983-85...members of Salisbury's national championship team from 1999 were recognized at halftime of today's game. This is the 10th anniversary of that team winning the program's third national title.