Men's Lacrosse Heads To Philly

May 23, 2005

5/23/05 - Middlebury will make its sixth appearance in the NCAA Championship game in the last seven years after a 14-12 win over Nazareth in a semifinal contest at Alumni Stadium. The Panthers will take on <?xml:namespace prefix = "st1" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Salisbury, a 13-11 winner over Roanoke, in the NCAA Championship game on Sunday, May 29th at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The game will be televised live on CSTV (College Sports Television). The game will also be webcast here.

This will be the seventh meeting between Middlebury and Salisbury, the fourth in an NCAA Championship game. The Sea Gulls lead the series 4-2, with wins in '95, '98 and the '99 and '03 NCAA title games. Middlebury earns wins in '85 and the '00 NCAA Championship contest. The last meeting was the '03 title game at Ravens Stadium, where Salisbury emerged with a 14-13 overtime win to claim the title.

Middlebury earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 9-5 win over Wesleyan in the NESCAC Championship game on May 8th. The Panthers hosted and defeated Endicott 15-12 in the first round, scoring the game's last three goals to break a 12-12 tie. The quarterfinals were a rematch of the NESCAC Championship, with Middlebury emerging with an 11-8 win. The game was tied at seven late in the third quarter before the Panthers came away with the win. The semifinal contest was a rematch of last season's semifinals in Middlebury, where Nazareth emerged with a 12-8 win. This time, Middlebury came away with the win, much in part to a six-goal second quarter. The Panthers broke an 11-11 tie in the fourth quarter, coming away with the 14-12 victory.

Middlebury advanced to the NCAA title game from '99-03, winning three straight NCAA crowns in '00, '01 and '02. The Panthers lost their first title game in '99, before falling in the '04 semifinals to Nazareth. Middlebury has an overall tournament record of 24-5 (.828), boasting the highest winning percentage in tournament history of any team still competing in Division III.

Leading Middlebury's scoring attack this season have been Jim Cabrera (35-13-48), Henry Sheehan (18-23-41), Travis Meyer (16-18-34), Mark Foster (23-9-32) and Dave Leach (19-11-30), while Peter Mellen wins 65% of his face-offs.  In goal, Alex Palmisano has a 7.85 goals against average. The Middlebury offense averaged 12.4 goals/game on the season, while the defense allows 8.22 goals/contest.

Salisbury University enters the game with a 19-0 record, having won the last two NCAA titles. The Sea Gulls have now won an NCAA record 48 straight games, dating back to April of 2003. Salisbury won its conference title with a 17-7 win over Goucher to advance to the NCAA Tournament. To date, they have posted NCAA wins over Cabrini (13-9), Gettysburg (12-9) and Roanoke (13-11).

Leading the team in scoring this season have been Justin Smith (48-39-87), Dan Boyer (69-12-81) and Chris Phillips (42-35-77). The next closest player to these three is Eric Bishop, who has 35 points on the season. In goal, Dan Korpon sports a 6.56 goals against average. The Salisbury offense averages 17.4 goals/game on the season, while the defense allows just 7.15 goals/contest. Brad Bradford has won 66% of his face-offs this season, while the team is .319 on the man-up.