YORK, Pa. – The No. 12 York College men's lacrosse team will face off against No. 2 Salisbury on Saturday in the championship game of the 2014 Capital Athletic Conference Men's Lacrosse Tournament.
The No. 2 seeded Spartans (15-3, 6-1 CAC) enter Saturday's championship tilt coming off a 13-9 victory over No. 13 Mary Washington. York received goals from six different players, including a game-high five goals from Andrew Gamble (Easton, Md./Easton).
The No. 1 seeded Sea Gulls (17-1, 6-1) are coming off a 12-6 victory over Frostburg State in the second round of the CAC Tournament. In that game, Mike Kane led the Gulls with five goals.
In the previous meeting between these two squads, York had its program record seven-game win streak snapped as the Green and White suffered an 11-8 loss to the hands of Salisbury. It was a bittersweet moment for Spartan junior Tyler Hutson (Westminster, Md./Winters Mill) as he became York's all-time leading scorer with his second goal of the game with 9:23 left in the third quarter.
As expected from two nationally ranked teams playing for a conference championship, both squads sport offenses and defenses that rank at or near the top of the Capital Athletic Conference and rank inside the top 25 on the national level in multiple statistical categories.
York has thrived this season in man-up situations, as the Spartans lead the CAC and rank 19th in the nation in man-up offense with a .409 scoring percentage. The Spartans have also displayed accuracy and selectiveness on the offensive end as their .367 shot percentage leads the conference and ranks sixth nationally. Gamble ranks ninth in the country with a CAC-leading .538 shot percentage.
YCP ranks third in the CAC in goals scored (228) and goals-per-game (12.67), in addition to ranking second in total assists with 143. York's leading distributor, Tyler Davis (Finksburg, Md./Westminster), holds the single-season school record for assists as he now has 38 on the year and he ranks 26th in the nation with a conference-leading 2.11 assists-per-game average.
York's top guns offensively, Gamble and Hutson rank first and second in the CAC with 49 and 47 goals respectively on the season. In addition to Gamble and Hutson, Davis and James Lowe (Monrovia, Md./Urbana) also rank inside the top 10 in the conference in total points.
The Spartans have also received a herculean effort this season on the defensive end, specifically in net from their 6-5, 245 pound net-minder Caleb Abney (Forest Hill, Md./Fallston). Abney owns the 11th best save percentage nationally and leads the CAC with a .631 percentage, in addition to ranking second in the conference with a 7.08 goals-against average. Abney's 190 saves ranks second in the CAC and his 111 goals against is the fourth lowest total in the conference.
The No. 2 ranked Sea Gulls will enter Saturday sitting atop the CAC in total goals (249), goals-per-game average (13.83), total shots (790), shots on goal (494) and total assists (148).
Salisbury owns the 19th best scoring offense in the country with 13.83 goals-per-game, while sporting the 17th best scoring defense, allowing just 6.44 goals-per-game. Out-scoring its opponents by an average of 7.39 goals-per-game, SU has earned the 11th best scoring margin in the nation.
Spreading around the scoring, the Sea Gulls have 29 players who have scored a goal this season, with nine players in double-figure goal totals and 32 players who have recorded a point this season.
Salisbury boasts two 30+ goal scorers in Kane and Luke Phipps who rank inside the top 10 in the CAC with 39 and 31 goals respectively.
The Gulls' leading distributor, Rhett DePol, ranks 31 in the CAC with 31 helpers and Phipps also sits inside the conference's top 10 with 22 assists.
In addition to putting up big numbers offensively this season, Salisbury has also held its opponents at bay due to a superb performance in net this season by Alex Taylor. Taylor's conference-best 6.68 goals-against average ranks 17th in the country as he has allowed a conference-low 107 goals. The Sea Gull net-minder ranks second in the CAC with a .588 save percentage and eighth with 153 saves.
Saturday's championship game will feature 19 All-CAC selections, in addition to CAC Rookie of the Year in York's Garrett Barker (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) and CAC Coach of the Year in York's head coach Brandon Childs. All-CAC selections for York include Gamble, Hutson, Lowe, Abney, Seth Krolus (Westminster, Md./Loyola Blakefield), Josh Kluver (Abington, Pa./Abington), Andrew Thomas (Limerick, Pa./Spring-Ford) and Tyler Fields (Catonsville, Md./Mount Saint Joseph). Salisbury's All-CAC selections include DePol, Taylor, Donovan Lange, Knute Kraus, Josh Martin, Preston Dabbs, Zeke Smith, Luke Phillips, Thomas Cirillo, Greg Korvin and Chris Biank.
The Spartans and Sea Gulls face off in the 2014 CAC Men's Lacrosse Tournament championship game at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday at Sea Gull Stadium on the campus of Salisbury University. For more information related to the tournament, visit cacsports.com.
York celebration photo courtesy of Zack Teator