February 25, 2012

Top-Ranked Salisbury Blows Out No. 2 Roanoke 

by Shawn Nisson | LaxMagazine.com | Related: Live Blog Replay

Junior midfielder Ryan Clarke scored two straight goals to put Salisbury ahead 4-1 midway through the first quarter. Roanoke narrowed the gap to one later in the opening quarter, but then the Sea Gulls took off.
© Greg Wall (file) 

SALISBURY, Md. — If Saturday's highly-anticipated matchup between the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in Division III men's lacrosse had been a prizefight, the referee would had been forced to step in and stop the match long before the final whistle blew inside of a blustery Sea Gull Stadium.

Salisbury (3-0) thoroughly thrashed Roanoke (1-1) in an old school, big-brother beat-down type of way, as the top-ranked Gulls defeated the Maroons, 22-5.

Salisbury nearly shut out Roanoke in the second half, allowing just a single goal, and the Gulls held the Maroons off the scoreboard for more than 25 minutes of game time, a span that lasted from midway through the second quarter into the fourth.

Sam Bradman notched a game high five points for the Sea Gulls, scoring twice while handing out three assists, and senior's Kyle Quist and Erik Krum both tallied a game high four goals for Salisbury.

"I wouldn't say it's an eye-opener, because we know that we need to work hard and we know that [Salisbury] is good," Roanoke head coach Bill Pilat said. "But they are just so good at exposing the things you need to work on."

The Maroons got off to a good start, scoring the game's first goal just 77 seconds in. Junior Mike Hayden found the back of the net on an unassisted shot. But things started to go downhill quickly after that.

Salisbury tie the game at one just nine seconds after Roanoke's strike. Junior Tyler Granelli won the ensuing faceoff, scooped up the loose ball and charged towards the crease before firing a shot that Maroon's goalie Charles Pease couldn't keep out. A minute later the Sea Gulls took the lead for good as Jeff McGuire's shot hit twine after catching a pass from Bradman. SU junior Ryan Clarke followed that score by depositing two of his own, handing the Gulls a 4-1 lead with 8:21 to play in the first quarter.

Roanoke was still able to keep the game close in the first quarter by taking advantage of their early man-up opportunities, going two-of-three in the frame. Joey Coretti and Hayden tallied back to back strikes to cut Salisbury's lead to one.

Unfortunately for the Maroons that was close as they got the rest of the day. Bradman finished off the first quarter scoring by depositing two goals in the final 2:30 of the period enhancing Salisbury's lead to 6-3.

Bradman's two late strikes in the first quarter seemed to give Salisbury the momentum they needed to pull away from Roanoke, as the senior's scores started a 5-0 run for the Gulls.

"We got on the goalie quick," SU senior midfielder Kyle Gallagher said. "He wasn't seeing it early and we just poured it on after that."

Hayden put an end to Salisbury's run with exactly seven minutes remaining in the half when the midfielder finished his hat-trick by scoring while Salisbury had three men in the penalty box to make it a 9-4.

From that point on it was a goal fiesta for Salisbury. The Gulls ended on a 13-1 run, including a 9-0 third-quarter spurt that put the game way out of reach.

"At halftime I didn't feel to bad, I thought we could make a little run at it, but that third quarter they blew our doors off," Pilat said. "They are just a deep talented team, and they play really smart. If you make a mistake they are going to make you pay for it and unfortunately today we made too many."

Salisbury won the game, in part, by dominating face-offs in the second and third quarter of the contest. After the two squads evenly split the 10 first-quarter draws, Granelli dominated the X going 10-for-13 the rest of the way.

"Tyler is a player. He had two goals today and had a chance for a third," Salisbury head coach Jim Berkman said. "When he gets on a roll it can be like make it, take it, and that's kind of what happened. You get your good offensive players the ball and just keep coming back and getting good opportunities you can score some goals and that was the case today."

While Pilat was disappointed in the outcome of the contest, the coach knows his team has plenty of season left to recover from this setback.

"This isn't the first time that Salisbury has beaten the living hell out of us and we've come back and had some pretty good years," Pilat said. "The train is still on the tracks, and we will get it rolling again."

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