April 5, 2009

Courtesy of Salisbury

SALISBURY, Md. - The Salisbury University men's lacrosse suffered its first-ever Capital Athletic Conference loss on Saturday night as top-ranked Stevenson University defeated fourth-ranked Salisbury 12-8 before a crowd of 2,672 at Sea Gull Stadium. The loss ends Salisbury's 105-game conference winning streak which started the year the Sea Gulls entered the conference in 1995. The attendance is the fourth largest in SU men's lacrosse history at Sea Gull Stadium.

"It's a streak that got broken today. It is something that we should be proud of," said Salisbury coach Jim Berkman after the game. "We have to play 60 minutes of lacrosse. We had some bad luck [today]."

Salisbury (11-2, 5-1 CAC) led 3-2 after the first quarter of play and scored a quick goal to begin the second quarter as freshman Matt Cannone (two goals) beat Stevenson goalie Geoff Hebert (six saves) off an assist from Sam Bradman (one goal, one assist). Over the next five minutes the Mustangs (11-0, 5-0 CAC) scored back-to-back goals to pull even with the Sea Gulls. Salisbury took its final lead of the game, 5-4, at the 6:50 mark when junior attackman Mike Winter (two goals) scored his second goal of the half. The Mustangs answered with two straight goals to take a 6-5 advantage into halftime.

Junior Mike Von Kamecke scored his 15th goal of the season just a minute and 17 seconds into the third quarter to knot the game at 6-6, the fifth and final tie of the game. Stevenson regained the lead for good as the Mustangs scored five straight goals to close out the quarter up 11-6. The five-goal deficit is the largest Salisbury has faced all season.

The Sea Gulls scored two fourth quarter goals off the sticks of Bradman and Cannone to pull to within three goals, 11-8, with eight minutes to play. Stevenson iced the game when junior Richie Ford scored his fourth goal of the game.

In addition to Ford's four goals teammate Nicola Bevacqua scored four goals to pace the Mustangs. Junior attackman Steve Kazimer scored one goal and two assists in the victory for Stevenson. The Mustangs have won 12 consecutive games and five straight in conference.

"We want to be what they are. We respect the heck out of their program," said Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene. "It is great to be that team to end their [winning] streak."

Stevenson outshot Salisbury 40-33 and converted 21-of-29 clear attempts. Salisbury won the ground ball battle 46-33 and held the edge in face-offs 13-for-23. Junior midfielder Ryan Finch (seven ground balls) won 12-of-21 face-offs. The two teams scored two extra-man goals and combined for 51 turnovers. SU goalie Johnny Rodriguez made 13 saves in the game, seven in the third quarter.

This is the first time Salisbury has lost two games in a season since 2002. That was the same year SU last faced a top-ranked team and lost 7-5 in the NCAA tournament to No. 1 Gettysburg on May 12, 2002. The last time Salisbury hosted a No. 1 ranked team at Sea Gull Stadium was April 11, 1998 when the maroon and gold defeated Adelphi University 11-7. The Panthers were the top ranked team in Division II. The last time SU hosted a No. 1 team in Division III and beat them was March 17, 1993 when Salisbury defeated Nazareth 10-7.

Salisbury will next travel to St. Mary's City, Md., on Friday, April 10, to face the Seahawks from St. Mary's (Md.) College in a CAC game that begins at 4 p.m.