Salisbury Cruises By Tufts For The Men’s NCAA Division 3 Lacrosse Championship

Daaaaaaa Gulls are Daaaaaa Champs!

In a rematch of the 2010 Championship, Salisbury got revenge on Tufts and took home their ninth National Championship in Men’s Lacrosse.  Last year, Tufts came out flying, scored a bunch of early goals and held on for a 9-6 win.  People all over the country were shocked that Tufts, a former NESCAC bottom dweller could come in and dictate the pace of the game to a team like SU.  Well, 2011 was a TOTALLY different story.

Daaaaaaa Gulls are Daaaaaa Champs!

Salisbury came out hot and by the time I realized what was happening, they were up 6-1… and this was still in the first quarter of play.  In 2010, the SU Gulls couldn’t hit the net, took bad shots and seemed flustered by Tufts defense.  The Jumbos also got some goals by SSDMs early on that changed the make up of the game.  This year, the Gulls knew what to expect a little bit more, and their rapid cuts on O, precision feeding and excellent shooting made all the difference in the world.  Sam Bradman showing up this time (with SEVEN goals and an assist!) didn’t hurt either.

2011_Salisbury_Tufts_NCAA_13 Sam Bradman
Bradman (#12) got a LOT of attention from Tufts. Well deserved!

All Photos courtesy

On the other end of the field, SU seemed content to let anyone BUT DJ Hessler dodge.  When the other Tufts players did dodge, SU allowed them to get in close on one defender, and then doubled quickly once the Tufts player changed direction or turned their back to the double.  However, even on the slides, SU was very composed, and rarely swung wildly at sticks.  They let Tufts force the issue, they made the Jumbos frustrated and then just took advantage of all the mistakes that were made.  SU’s game plan was solid, and their execution was flawless.  The Gulls were a very balanced, composed, yet aggressive team.  Very deserving National Champs.

The 12 goal margin of victory was the largest margin by which SU has ever won a National Championship.  Tufts was a great team this year, as was RIT, Roanoke, Stevenson and a host of others, but at the end of the day, it was clear the Salisbury was hands down the best team in DIII.   Again.


    • I don’t think SU was fully prepared last year.  This year, they were, and it really showed.  Bradman knew how to dodge their defense and managed to do so with impunity.  It helped greatly that SU was finding the back of the net from distance.  Last year they couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn and Tufts didn’t have to extend as much.  This year?  Not the case at all.

      What was more impressive though was the Gull Defense.  Disciplined but aggressive and they were excellent in transition, where Tufts usually flourishes.  A VERY impressive team at Salisbury this year.  Fast, talented, creative, and all that within a Berkman system. Dominant.

      • SU definitely underestimated Tufts last year. This year the game plan was evident and I think it had to do with the fact that Berkman perhaps felt embarassed last year and wanted redemption/revenge (maybe more so than the players). SU’s defense was good but not great, but it did more than it needed to in order to stop a Tufts offense that is decent (but not great) in 6 on 6 situations. Where they excelled was dropping EVERYBODY in the hole on transition and conceding the clear (for the most part). Limiting Tufts transition opporunites was the key to keeping them from scoring.

        While SU was on offense it was clear that they were well prepared to exploit Tufts “slide and recover D”. They were waiting for the Tufts slide and then SU was moving the ball inside very well. Most of the early goals were from inside 5 yards. If you’re reading this and saying “isn’t that the point of offense?” then you haven’t seen Tufts D this year; they slide almost every time whether it’s necessary or not.  If the initial look wasn’t there SU would continue to dummy dodge and wait for a matchup (like a SSDM on Bradman, who had a great game), and then exploit that.

        Unfortunately, a lot of the position players for Tufts also had a hard time getting in the groove. Not sure if you give the credit for that to the gulls play or nerves or whatever but these were not great performances out of the typically oustanding players.

        I’d also say that unfortunately faceoffs and goalie play (which have been a strong point all year for tufts) were severely lacking. Bad games happens sometimes and it’s unfortunate that it all played out the way it did in the biggest game of the year. Neither goalie was seeing the ball particularly well and while Tufts dominated faceoffs at RIT they were having a hard time on Sunday.

        On a related note, the refing was particularly bad for a championship game. I don’t mean to make it sound like a reason or excuse why Tufts lost (they got outplayed) but I was surprised how many seemingly obvious calls were missed. It was probably on both sides but as a Tufts fan I noticed more bad or missed calls against Tufts. At one stretch (I believe in the 3rd) SU was offsides for about 13 or 14 seconds and the ref didn’t even turn his head around to look (despite him being in front of the Tufts bench and everyone screaming). If memory serves they went offsides again on the very next Tufts possession and it was not called. I think they finally got called offsides on the 3rd time they went off in a span of about 2-3 mintues (though it may have been the second time, and if so, I applogize for the misinformation). Another obvious missed call I remember was during a faceoff when the players were fighting for the draw (and therefore no other players can make contact) a SU player was lifting the stick of the Tufts faceoff guy in order to disrupt the draw. I know that refs miss calls and make mistakes but my measuring stick for reffing is usually my “common sense rule”; I try to be objective throughout and if at the end of the game the reffing sticks out to me as much as the play then I believe they did a bad job.

        Congrats to the Seagulls on another NC.

  1. I wonder if the heat played a role a little in Tufts’ play? That kind of heat gets to you since the Northeast doesn’t get that type of weather until August. Maybe it didn’t and worlds ugliest color scheme just got thumped.