Foxborough, MA (WBNG Binghamton) Sam Bradman scored six goals as nationally top-ranked Salisbury outlasted second-ranked Cortland, 14-10, in the NCAA Div. III men's lacrosse championship game at Gillette Stadium.
Salisbury repeated as national champion and finished the season 23-0, while Cortland suffered its first loss of the year and ended with a 21-1 record.
The game marked only the second time in Div. III history that two unbeaten teams played for the national title. Salisbury defeated Nazareth in a battle of undefeated squads in 1995.
Senior Mike Tota (Webster/Webster Schroeder) led Cortland with three goals and one assist. He finished his career with a school-record 174 goals and second in school history with 247 total points. Senior Greg Wright (irondequoit/West Irondequoit) and sophomore Joe Slavik (Binghamton/Seton Catholic) each scored twice, while freshman Mike Cantelli (Holmdel, NJ) and sophomore Cody Consul (Webster/Webster Schroeder) recorded one goal and one assist apiece. Junior Mike Kaminski (Sayville) made 11 saves.
Bradman finished with six goals and one assist and Lantz Carter (Randallstown, MD/Northwestern) registered three goals and one assist for the Sea Gulls. Matt Cannone (Bayport/Bethpage) totaled two goals and three assists and Alex Taylor (Woodbine, MD/Glenelg) made eight saves.
Cortland was playing in the NCAA Div. III championship game for the seventh time. The Red Dragons won national titles versus Salisbury in 2006 and Gettysburg in 2009 and have lost to Salisbury three times (2007, 2008 and 2012) and Hobart twice (1980 and 1981). Salisbury won its 10th national title overall and seventh since 2003.
Cortland led 3-2 less than 10 minutes into the game on goals by freshman Matt Rakoczy (Clifton Park/Albany Academy), Tota and Cantelli. Rakoczy's hard 12-yard shot tied the game at 1-1 with 13:05 left in the first and Tota's point-blank shot after a quick clear made it 2-1 with 11:35 left. Cantelli gave Cortland a 3-2 lead with a 15-yard bouncer inside the left post with 5:11 left.
Bradman scored with 16 seconds left in the first quarter and again 1:08 into the second quarter to give the Sea Gulls a 4-3 lead. Cannone's unassisted tally 51 seconds later pushed the Salisbury lead to 5-3.
Cortland came back with a Slavik goal at the 8:56 mark of the second and a Tota goal with 3:59 remaining to tie the game at 5-5. Tota's goal was set up by a 50-yard outlet pass from Kaminski to sophomore Doug Meehan (Sayville), who then fed a quick pass to Tota.
Salisbury posted the final two goals of the half, including a Carter goal with 1.2 seconds remaining, to take a 7-5 halftime lead. Wright, however, scored the first two goals of the second half - one assisted by sophomore Brian Winterfeldt (Merrick/Calhoun) and the other by Tota on a man-up opportunity - to knot the game at 7-7 with 12:01 remaining in the third quarter.
Bradman found the net at both the 5:49 and 4:47 marks of the third to put Salisbury up 9-7. Cortland closed to within a goal on three occasions from that point - but the Sea Gulls responded each time. After Slavik scored unassisted with 3:54 left in the third and each team down a player, Erik Krum (Manhattan Beach, CA/Mira Costa) tallied on a man-up opportunity one minute later. Total scored off a Consul feed with 2:07 left to bring Cortland within 10-9, but Cannone scored 1:37 into the fourth quarter with Salisbury up a man to re-establish a two-goal margin.
Cortland's last push came on Consul's unassisted diving goal with 12:46 left that cut the Salisbury lead to 12-11. The Red Dragons had a chance to tie the game with 10:01 left, but Taylor turned aside a shot by Rakoczy, and less than a minute later Ryan Clarke (Manhasset) scored to put Salisbury up by two.
Tyler Granelli (North Salem/John Jay) then won the ensuing faceoff and Carter scored with 8:23 left to push the Sea Gulls' lead to 13-10. Bradman finished the scoring with an empty-net goal with 2:57 on the clock. Granelli won 16-of-26 faceoffs for the Sea Gulls and Tony Mendes (Chapel Hill, NC/E. Chapel Hill) led the team with seven ground balls. Meehan paced Cortland with five ground balls.
Salisbury held a 39-32 advantage in shots and 32-24 edge in ground balls. Each team turned the ball over 10 times. Cortland was 15-of-16 on clears and Salisbury finished 12-of-13.
Salisbury 14, Cortland 10
Team 1-2-3-4 Final
Salisbury (23-0) 3-4-3-4 14
Cortland (21-1) 3-2-4-1 10
Salisbury: Sam Bradman 6-1, Lantz Carter 3-1, Matt Cannone 2-3, Ryan Clarke 1-1, Erik Krum 1-0, Jeff McGuire 1-0, Tony Mendes 0-1, Kyle Quist 0-1, Cory Nowak 0-1
Cortland: Mike Tota 3-1, Joe Slavik 2-0, Greg Wright 2-0, Cody Consul 1-1, Mike Cantelli 1-1, Matt Rakoczy 1-0, Doug Meehan 0-1, Brian Winterfeldt 0-1
Salisbury: Alex Taylor, 8 saves (10 GA in 60:00)
Cortland: Mike Kaminski, 11 saves (14 GA in 60:00)
Shots: Salisbury 39, Cortland 32
Ground Balls: Salisbury 32, Cortland 24
Turnovers: Salisbury 10, Cortland 10
Caused Turnovers: Cortland 5, Salisbury 4
Clears: Cortland 15-of-16, Salisbury 12-of-13 Faceoffs Won: Salisbury 16, Cortland 10
Penalties: Salisbury 5-3:00, Cortland 4-3:30 Extra-Man Offense: Salisbury 2-3, Cortland 1-3