SALISBURY -- Salisbury State's high-powered offense couldn't get out of neutral in yesterday's quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division III men's lacrosse championship.
The same Sea Gulls scoring attack that averaged 18.6 points a game during the regular season sputtered scoreless for more than 25 minutes, allowing No. 7 seed Ithaca College to claim ""TC 21-9 victory and a berth in next Sunday's semifinal.
The same guys who set a Salisbury State record for goals in a game in last week's 33-3 rout of West Chester were shut out in the third quarter and similarly humiliated in front of 1,010 at Sea Gull Stadium.
"We weren't spreading the ball out well at all," said Salisbury senior midfielder Dod Poe, who finished with two goals and one assist. "We'd get the ball down near the goal and one guy would get it and go to goal. We'd take one shot and it was gone.
"Coach [Jim] Berkman has a little motto that we have to play hard, intelligent and together. We played hard like we always do, but we didn't play intelligent, and we didn't play together. That was the difference."
After falling behind 3-0 to start the game, second-seeded Salisbury battled back and tied the score at 6 with 3:30 left in the half when senior attackman Eric Modesitt scooped up one of Dale Neely's 15 saves and shuffled it into the net.
That would be the final highlight for the Sea Gulls.
Ithaca (12-1), which suffered a 16-10 loss to Salisbury in last year's first-round game, finished the half with three unanswered goals, the last by freshman Danny Sheehan with no time left on the clock.
The Bombers went on to score eight straight and take a 17-6 lead before senior Jeff Chenowith (Fallston) ended Salisbury's drought with an unassisted goal with 8:29 left.
Chenowith, who entered the game as the Sea Gulls' leading scorer with 37 goals and 27 assists, was held scoreless the first three quarters and finished with one goal and one assist.
Senior midfielder Kevin Hohner, Salisbury's second leading point-getter with 29 goals and 30 assists, was held to a quiet pair of first-half feeds.
"The first 10 minutes of the second half was the difference," said Berkman, whose team finishes at 12-2. "We just didn't put the ball in. We dominated play and we just couldn't put the ball in the cage."
Part of that problem was Neely, who finished with 15 saves, several from point-blank range. Berkman thought the complexion of the game helped set the stage for the junior goalkeeper.
"When we got behind we hurried our shots and instead of making the extra fake or making one more pass, we were pressing the whole time and we weren't getting the great shots that we've gotten all year," said Berkman. "It makes it a little easier for the goalie to come up big and he did. He played a great game."
Ithaca coach Jeff Long agreed and said Neely's performance was not only welcome, but mandatory.
"Any time you get to this point of the season, if your keeper doesn't play well, you're going to lose," Long said. "We're only going to be as good as he is, and he showed how good he is today."