Salisbury State's offense was potent, its defense stingy and its goalie superb. And the Sea Gulls' complete team effort resulted in a 13-6 victory over Middlebury yesterday at Byrd Stadium for their third NCAA Division III men's lacrosse championship in six years.
In the Division II men's final at Ludwig Field, Adelphi scored six goals in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter to pull away from C.W. Post for an 11-8 victory and its second consecutive championship.
Salisbury State (18-1) put on a show in its game. The Sea Gulls scored the first four goals and held Middlebury's strong offense to two goals in the first half. The attack trio of Brian Smith (three goals, one assist), Peter Troup (two goals, one assist) and Joe High (two goals, one assist) helped the Sea Gulls dominate. Smith was named most outstanding player of the final four.
But Salisbury State, which also won the Division III title in 1994 and '95, controlled play at both ends of the field. With Chris Martin winning 11 of his 18 faceoffs, the Sea Gulls often gained possession, held possession and waited for the right shot to develop, taking advantage of quick moves and pinpoint passes.
Middlebury's defensive unit "traditionally slides [from side to side] extremely quick, and we wanted to take advantage of the slides," Salisbury State Coach Jim Berkman said. "We wanted to draw the slides, make a pass and the second pass, go inside. . . . We drew the slides [and] took advantage a little bit of their impatience."
Salisbury State goalie Jason Tarnow made 19 saves, 14 of them in the second half as Middlebury (15-2) pressed after falling behind 7-2 by halftime. The Panthers never drew closer than four goals.
"The reason we were able to do so good and make things happen was because of the defense and Tarnow," Troup said. "[Tarnow] was making unbelievable saves all day long."
Salisbury State limited Middlebury's Adam Pascal to one goal and two assists, but that still gave him 19 goals and five assists in four NCAA tournament games, a tournament scoring record.
In the Division II game, Adelphi (10-3) needed the fourth-quarter run to shake off a smaller, stubborn C.W. Post team. Leading 4-3 at halftime, Adelphi held the ball for much of the third quarter, but scored just once.
But Adelphi broke away to an 11-5 advantage during the first 6 minutes 10 seconds of the fourth quarter.
"That run in that time frame was big," said Adelphi Coach Sandy Kapatos, whose team was led by Brian Tower (three goals, one assist) and most outstanding player Anthony Saccone (three goals).
Rob Parengkuan won 16 of 21 faceoffs for C.W. Post (11-3), but after taking a 2-0 lead, the Pioneers found few good shots.