The big boys had the day off, well, except for the head coaches and a select number of players who did interviews for tomorrow's title game.
Today, it was the D3 and D2 boys chance to shine on center stage. A total of 23,015 spectators spent their
ScarlettSunday Sunday Funday at Lincoln Financial Field watching another lacrosse doubleheader, which had two exciting games, but each of them had their own unique flavor!
Salisbury went on an 8-0 run from the 2nd quarter to the start of the 3rd before Tufts went on a 7-0 run of their own and managed to cut the deficit to one, but the Sea Gull defense stood tall en route to their 11th title in program history.
In the Division II game, Le Moyne scored four straight goals in the final frame en route to an 8-4 victory over Limestone.
Here are my takeaways from the day:
1. Salisbury Brought Their Posse.
Sea Gull nation came out in full force today, and won my award for Best Tailgate of the day. They took up a good portion of one K lot row, and they were out very early, like maybe 9:30ish. Have to imagine it was even better as time progressed and gametime got even closer, but I saw nothing from Tufts, Le Moyne, or Limestone when I made my way to the Linc.
2. Salisbury Also Brought Their Game
The Gulls had an explosive start to this game, leading the Jumbos 9-4 at the end of the first half in the midst of their 8-0 scoring run. James Burton and Nick Garbarino each had hat-tricks, and Nathan Blondino had a pair of goals and assists. He broke the 100 point mark with 101 total points and became the first Salisbury player to reach 100 since Matt Cannone did it back in 2012 with 130 points. Goaltender Colin Reymann was named the game's Most Outstanding Player with 15 saves, including the game-winning save on Tufts' John Uppgren.
It was Salisbury's first title since 2012. Congrats to Salisbury!
Uppgren gets denied, and @SalisburyMLAX wins their first title since 2012! 14-13 Gulls hang on! pic.twitter.com/XSNEnJ6W4b— Chris Jastrzembski (@_JASTdoit_) May 29, 2016
3. Tufts Put Up A Fight
The Jumbos are known for an exciting offense, and they demonstrated it today. It's the originator of Brown's offense, as current Bears offensive coordinator Sean Kirwan was an offensive assistant with Tufts prior to his arrival to Brown last season. Uppgren only had a goal in two-and-a-half quarters, but started to light it up late with three tallies in the second half, and almost had the game-tying goal late. He had 12 shots in the game. Austin Carbone, Zach Richman, and Jake Gillespie each had a pair of goals for Tufts, and Alex Salazar made eight saves.
But the biggest catalyst to Tufts' comeback was the in the faceoff department. In the first half, the Jumbos went 6-for-13 from the faceoff X. In the second half, they went 15-for-16. Conor Helfrich went 20-for-27 on the day, and Tucker Mathers also won a draw on two attempts. Those extra possessions gave Tufts some life, but Reymann's performance proved to be too much for the possible three-peat.
4. Defense Wins Championships
I love the high-scoring games that we saw yesterday and in the D3 title game. The D2 title game was a masterpiece for people who love defense, which excludes myself. Defenseman Brenden Entenman was named the game's Most Outstanding Player, holding the Saints to four total goals, and none in the second half. Limestone's scoreless drought began at the 3:55 mark of the 2nd quarter, and lasted 33:55. That's something you don't want to do! The Dolphins defense held Enners Award winner (Division II Outstanding Player) Mike Messenger to just a goal and an assist and 1st Team All-American attackman Kyle Rhatigan pointless. Kelly Award winner (Outstanding Goaltender) Alex Krawec ended his Le Moyne career with seven saves.
Offensively, Mike Jenkins, Matt Taylor, and Logan Thomas had a pair of goals, with Taylor and Thomas dishing out an assist each. FOGOs Kendall Vecchio and Nick Kline went a combined 8-for-14 in the faceoff department and held Specialty Award winner (FOGO) and 1st Team All-American Kevin Reisman to under 50% from the faceoff X.
It was Le Moyne's fifth title and first since 2013. Their perfect mark of 20-0 is the third time they finished the season undefeated and the first unblemished season since 2006. Congrats to Le Moyne, Syracuse's baby brother!
DOWN GOES LIMESTONE! 5th title for Syracuse's baby brother, Le Moyne! pic.twitter.com/raarQ242nV— Chris Jastrzembski (@_JASTdoit_) May 29, 2016
5. Rain Rain, Go Away
I didn't see the sun at all in the Division II title game, and the cloud cover increased throughout the entire game, and rain started to come down a little after the two teams left the field. The tarp is currently on the field as of now, and looking at many forecasts, it looks like we'll be seeing rain throughout the day tomorrow.
Total attendance for the first two days is 56,152. The total attendance last year was 72,897. If you do the math, that's a difference of (does math) 16,745. There could be a dip in the National Championship attendance from last year (24,215), but I'm sure total weekend attendance will go up from last year's mark. Let's hope that the rain doesn't slow down anyone that might be thinking about coming to watch a great National Championship game, because the shore areas will also be the same!