Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/25/14
From Press Release and Staff Report
For the third time in the last five years, the Tufts men’s lacrosse team will take on Salisbury University with the NCAA title on the line today at 1 pm in Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium, home of the National Football League’s Ravens.
The Jumbos and Sea Gulls have played for the national championship twice before on this turf. Tufts won the first-ever NCAA team title for the University in 2010 with a 9-6 win against the Sea Gulls, but Salisbury gained revenge with a 19-7 victory when the teams met again in 2011.
Tufts (20-2) returns to Baltimore after traveling to RIT and defeating the #1 ranked and previously unbeaten Tigers, 21-11, in the NCAA semi-finals last Sunday. Senior tri-captain Beau Wood scored seven goals with one assist as the Jumbos broke away from a 6-6 tie in the second quarter to post the 10-goal victory.
One of the key players for Tufts is senior midfielder Peter Bowers (Conestoga), who has 28 goals and eight assists and was named an Academic All-American this year. Bowers is joined by reserve junior midfielder Charlie Rubin (Radnor), who has two goals and two assists in 16 games; and sophomore defenseman Jon Sax (St. Joseph’s Prep/Lawrenceville School).
After falling into an early 3-0 deficit in the first quarter, a goal by senior attackman Rhett DePol with eight seconds left in the quarter sparked an 11-2 run that lasted into the fourth quarter, as Salisbury defeated Washington (MD) College in an NCAA Division III semifinal contest, 13-8, at home last Sunday. The berth into the NCAA final is the 15th for the program.
Head coach Mike Daly’s Jumbos are looking to add a second NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship trophy to the display case in the lobby at the University’s new Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center. The Jumbos, who have reached the national semi-finals in four of the last five seasons, are looking to become Tufts’ first two-time NCAA team champion.
After winning their fifth consecutive NESCAC championship to start the month of May, the Jumbos have ran off NCAA wins against Emmanuel (24-2), Endicott (10-9), Cortland (15-5) and RIT. With their 4-0 NCAA record so far, the Jumbos have compiled a 16-5 record in six NCAA Tournaments berths overall.
Salisbury (21-1) is the second-most successful team in the history of NCAA Division III lacrosse. This spring’s NCAA selection marked the 26th-straight tournament appearance for Salisbury, which has not missed the NCAA playoffs under the direction of head coach Jim Berkman. With 10 titles, they are chasing the 13 NCAA crowns won by Hobart before that school moved up to Division I competition.
Ironically, it was back in the Boston area where the Sea Gulls won their most recent NCAA title. Salisbury capped off the program’s seventh undefeated season and won their 10th National Championship by defeating Cortland, 14-10, in the 2012 NCAA final at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.
Salisbury brought home its 18th Capital Athletic Conference championship this spring, defeating York College of Pennsylvania, 12-4, at Sea Gull Stadium. Earning a first-round bye in the north section of the NCAA bracket, the Sea Gulls advanced to Sunday’s final with a second-round win over York (12-6) and a quarterfinal victory against Denison (15-5) prior to the semi-final win over Washington (MD).
The Jumbos are the #1 scoring team in the nation with an average of 18.68 goals per game. With 13.68 goals per game, Salisbury ranks 19th nationally. On the defensive side of the field, the Sea Gulls are a national top 10 team allowing just 6.38 goals per game. Tufts, which has played very well defensively in the post-season, surrenders 9.95 goals per game. The Sea Gulls are the #2 team and the Jumbos are #6 in the most recent USILA national poll (May 5).
Six First Team All-Americans will play in Sunday’s Championship game, four for Salisbury and two for Tufts. Among the Sea Gulls, senior midfielder Donovan Lange, senior long-stick midfielder Zeke Smith, sophomore defensive midfielder Preston Dabbs and senior defender Josh Martin all earned their first All-America First Team accolades. Jumbo attackmen Cole Bailey and John Uppgren also received First Team recognition, with Bailey getting the recognition for the second straight year.
Three of those All-Americans were voted as the best at their position by the USILA for the 2014 season. Salisbury’s Smith was named the nation’s top Long-pole Midfielder Award winner. The Specialty Player Award (Short-Stick) went to Salisbury’s Dabb. Jumbo junior Cole Bailey received the LT. COL. J.I. (Jack) Turnbull Award as the Most Outstanding Attackman.