St. Mary's City, Md. - The St. Mary's College of Maryland men's lacrosse team did not repeat last Friday's performance against No. 10 Salisbury University in Thursday's Capital Athletic Conference semifinal match-up as the third-seeded Sea Gulls eliminated No. 2 seed St. Mary's, 18-5, to advance to the program's 15th conference championship game.
The 14-time defending CAC Champions, Salisbury (13-3) will take on top-seeded and top-ranked Stevenson University on Sunday for the CAC title as Stevenson notched a 19-4 victory over fourth-seeded Wesley College in today's other semifinal contest.
After being held to just one assist last Friday, junior attacker Jake DeLillo (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown) exploded for five goals and a helper in leading the Sea Gulls to the semifinal victory. The reigning CAC Player of the Year, senior midfielder Kylor Berkman (Salisbury, Md./Parkside) matched DeLillo's game-high six points with two goals and four assists, while sophomore attackman Erik Krum (Manhattan Beach, Calif./Mira Costa) registered his second hat trick against the Seahawks.
The Sea Gulls outscored St. Mary's, 4-1, in the first period as DeLillo found the back of the net three times. Sophomore attackman Chris Becraft (Rockville, Md./Good Counsel) scored the home team's lone goal.
St. Mary's netted two of the second quarter's first three goals before SU tallied three straight to post an 8-3 advantage at 4:18. A pair of goals by junior captain Ryan Alexander (Laurel, Md./Pallotti) sandwiched one by DeLillo for a 9-5 Salisbury halftime lead.
The visitors did the most damage in the second half as the Sea Gulls rattled off nine consecutive goals, while the Salisbury defensive unit held the Seahawks scoreless for 30 minutes. Eight different players scored for the maroon and gold.
Alexander was the only Seahawk to have a multiple goal game as he finished with two goals, while sophomore attackman Dennis Rosson (Severna Park, Md./Severn) dished out two assists.
Junior Ryan Finch (Finksburg, Md./Westminster) helped kickstart the Sea Gull offense as Finch won 15-of-23 face-offs, including 8-of-9 in the second half. Finch also scooped up a game-high seven loose balls.
In goal, sophomores Johnny Rodriguez (Gambrills, Md./Mt. St. Joseph) and Tim Swinburn (Swarthmore, Pa./Strath Haven) combined for five saves, all in the second half, in the victory. Sophomore goalie Pat Simpson (Arnold, Md./Broadneck) made eight stops for the Seahawks.
Salisbury fired off 37 shots to the Seahawks' 21, while the Sea Gulls edged St. Mary's, 38-32, in ground balls.
2009 CAC Men's Lacrosse Tournament
Monday, April 13 - Quarterfinals
Game 1: No. 4 seed Wesley d. No. 5 seed York (Pa.), 13-11
Game 2: No. 3 seed Salisbury d. No. 6 seed Mary Washington, 14-5
Bye: No. 1 seed Stevenson and No. 2 seed St. Mary's (Md.)
Thursday, April 16 - Semifinals
Game 3: No. 1 seed Stevenson d. No. 4 seed Wesley, 19-4
Game 4: No. 3 seed Salisbury d. No. 2 seed St. Mary's (Md.), 18-5
Sunday, April 19 - Championship
Game 5: No. 3 seed Salisbury at No. 1 seed Stevenson