In college lacrosse, there is no substitute for offense.
Salisbury learned that lesson Sunday as Tufts scored 11 goals throughout the second and third quarters to emerge with a 12-9 victory in the NCAA Division III men's lacrosse championship before an announced 22,219 at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Jumbos (21-2) ended their season with a 14-game winning streak and are now 2-1 in title games, with all three matchups against the Sea Gulls. Tufts defeated Salisbury, 9-6, for the 2010 championship, but the Sea Gulls returned the favor in 2011 with a 19-7 rout.
Salisbury (21-2) had won 11 straight games before Sunday's loss. The Sea Gulls were seeking their 11th NCAA championship.
"They were the better team today," Salisbury coach Jim Berkman said. "They had an outstanding season and outstanding run to finish the season."
The Sea Gulls had entered the game with a defense ranked ninth in the country after allowing just 6.3 goals per game, but that unit wilted against a Tufts offense that led the nation in scoring at 18.7 goals per game.
The Jumbos outscored Salisbury, 11-3, over the two middle periods and 7-1 in the pivotal third quarter.
With the victory, Tufts sets two NCAA offensive records.
The program finished with 423 goals, breaking the single-season mark across all three divisions of 417 goals set by Salisbury in 2007. And the Jumbos had 45 assists in the postseason, topping the tournament record of 40 shared by 2007 Salisbury and 2011 Roanoke.
The Sea Gulls had few answers on how to contain Tufts junior attackman Cole Bailey (Severn), who had a game-high six points (one goal, five assists), and sophomore attackman John Uppgren, who posted four points (two goals, two assists).
"That defense is great, but we just wanted to make [Sea Gulls senior goalkeeper Alex Taylor] face shots and get on him early, so he can't build that confidence," said Bailey, who had one goal and three assists in the second quarter and was named the final's Most Outstanding Player. "We wanted to kind of throw it back door, so we could get some quick one-timers, and I think we were able to do that. That's kind of where we found success."
Uppgren started for the first time this season after junior Chris Schoenhut suffered an unspecified injury in the team's 21-11 rout of Rochester Institute of Technology in a tournament semifinal May 18. Schoenhut led Division III with 80 goals.
"We certainly missed him out there," Uppgren said. "But we believe we have 49 kids who can step in and play without a drop-off at all."
Salisbury senior defenseman Josh Martin, who had the primary task of shadowing Bailey, insisted that the defense was prepared for what the Jumbos had planned to run.
"We saw what we thought we were going to see in the game plan," Martin said. "No surprises, nothing new. We knew everything that they threw at us. We let it get to us a little mentally more than we should have."
On the flipside, a Sea Gulls offense that had scored 13.7 goals per game struggled against Tufts. The starting attack of seniors Rhett DePol (St. Mary's) and Luke Phipps (John Carroll) and junior Mike Kane combined for just three goals on 19 shots and two assists.
Salisbury outscored the Jumbos, 3-0, in the fourth quarter, but Tufts senior goalkeeper Patton Watkins made eight of his game-high 17 saves in that period to stop the Sea Gulls' attempt at a comeback.
"We had our opportunities," said Salisbury senior midfielder Greg Korvin (Arundel), who led the team with three points (one goal, two assists). "Didn't finish them all. Probably should have started a little earlier on that run than we did, and they beat us today."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun