May 27, 2007
Salisbury Claims 2007 NCAA Men's Lacrosse National Championship
The 2007 Salisbury University men's lacrosse team completed a record breaking season on Sunday afternoon before 22,778 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore with its fourth NCAA Division III national championship in five years. SU defeated defending national champion SUNY Cortland 15-9 and placed this year's Sea Gull squad right next to one of the best Salisbury teams of all-time, the 1995 national championship team.
Salisbury junior Matt Hickman became the sixth Sea Gull to claim the NCAA Division III Most Outstanding Player award as he scored a game-high five goals and added one assist.
Salisbury (23-0) completed the best season in the history of NCAA men's lacrosse. The Sea Gulls set a new record for wins in a season (23) and broke all three major scoring records the 1995 team held. The 1995 national championship team set the NCAA all-time records for goals (409), assists (270) and points (679) in 17 games. The 2007 Sea Gulls broke all three of those records in Sunday's championship game. Salisbury finished the season with 417 goals, 271 assists and 688 points.
"I told the guys before the game there is a lot of Sea Gull lore at Salisbury and there is a lot of tradition," said SU coach Jim Berkman, in his 19th season at the helm. "The 1995 team was a pretty special team. But I told this team if someone mentions what was the best team of all-time that their name would definitely be mentioned in that sentence."
The Sea Gulls used several runs throughout the day to get back in the game early on and then put the game away for good in the second half en route to the program's seventh national title.
"I am honored to be here representing Salisbury University," said Jim Berkman. "Congratulations to Cortland on their outstanding season. We knew we were in for a barnburner today. It was a great game today."
SUNY Cortland (15-6) scored four of the first five goals in the first quarter as the Sea Gulls trailed 4-2 after the first for only the third-time this season. SU responded with a 6-0 run, which began with senior Eric Bishops' goal with less then three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
"We weren't running on all eight cylinders there at the beginning [of the game]," said Hickman. "We finally got our composure and put the ball in the back of the net."
Hickman scored his second and third goals to begin the second quarter where the Sea Gulls netted five unanswered goals. The maroon and gold scored four goals in a two minute and three second span.
The Red Dragons answered with two back-to-back goals with the latter coming off a set play after a timeout on the SU defensive end of the field. Junior midfielder Adam Hyde came off a screen and scored one of his team-high four goals with a rocket shot with four seconds left in the half where SU led 7-6 at the break.
Cortland tied the game at seven apiece just 46 seconds into the fourth quarter on Hyde's third goal of the game.
SU quickly answered and went on a 5-0 run in just under six minutes. Sophomore Kylor Berkman (three assists) found Hickman for the third time at the 13:27 mark. With that goal SU set the all-time NCAA goal record. Minutes later the Sea Gulls set the new NCAA points record when junior Greg Titus (three goals) scored his second goal on the day off an assist from Bishop at 9:57 in the third.
The Gulls capped the run on Hickman's fifth goal of the game off an assist from Kevin Kustron. Five minutes later, Hyde found junior attackman Billy Fuchs for the score to cut the lead to four, 12-8. Cortland wouldn't get any closer as senior midfielder Matt Dasinger scored his second goal of the quarter off an assist from Bishop with a second left on the scoreboard. With the assist Bishop reached the 100-point mark for the season.
Bishop (four goals, three assists) tacked on two fourth quarter goals to end the season with 67 goals, 35 assists, 102 points. The senior co-captain became the first Sea Gull since Josh Bergey (120 points) to reach the 100-point plateau in a season since 2003. Salisbury set the new all-time assists record for a season (271) on Bishop's last goal at the 2:07 mark off an assist from senior co-captain Michael Edwards.
Salisbury's defense dominated once more as the maroon and gold held Cortland to 34 shots and 33 ground balls. The Sea Gulls took 43 shots (18 in the third quarter) and scooped up 48 ground balls, 31 of which came in the second half. Cortland made 23 turnovers in the game, 15 of which were caused by the Sea Gull defense. Senior defenseman Kyle Hartzell made a game-high five caused turnovers and scooped up six ground balls. All-American defenders Chris Heier and Luis Gonzalez each had two caused turnovers.
SU senior goalie Max Zarchin (12 saves) made several spectacular saves throughout the game as he finished the year with a 23-0 record and a 5.40 goals allowed average. Zarchin saved some of his best goalkeeper for the stretch run of the playoffs as he made 39 saves in four NCAA tournament games.
The Sea Gull defense did not allow double-digit goals by an opponent all-season long and ended the season with a nation best five goals scored average which currently ranks seventh all-time in Division III history. The Sea Gull offense scored a nation best 18.13 goals a game and Hickman and Titus concluded the year with 75 and 76 goals, respectively.
The Salisbury senior class ends one of the greatest runs in NCAA lacrosse history with a 83-1 four-year record. The Sea Gulls lone loss came in last season's national championship game to Cortland, 13-12 in overtime. The loss snapped Salisbury's NCAA men's lacrosse record 69-game winning streak (sixth overall in any division, any sport).
"Redemption wasn't the word I was going to use. But I did lose a lot of sleep after last year's game," said Zarchin, who was in the net for the Gulls last season. "We weren't looking for revenge or anything like that but it was definitely good to get another shot against the same team."
One of the problems for the Sea Gulls in last year's title game was faceoffs. Senior Ryan DeRose answered the challenge this year as he won 10-of-18 in the game which was doubled the amount he won in the 2006 title game. Cortland held the advantage overall (15-of-28) but didn't dominate like it did a year ago where the Red Dragons won 11-of-13 in the second half of the national championship game.
"It's obviously been the best four years of our lives and I think every senior will agree with that," said Bishop. "We have accomplished a feat that no one in the entire athletic world has done...and to come out on top with three rings is just unbelievable."
The Sea Gulls end the season with 23 consecutive victories which ranks third all-time in NCAA Division III history for consecutive wins right behind other Salisbury national championship teams. The Sea Gulls own the lacrosse consecutive wins records of 47-games (02/24/94-05/18/96) and 69-games (04/17/03-05/28/06).
Story rerun with permission from the Salisbury sports information office.