No. 6 Tufts Downs No. 2 Salisbury for Division III Crown

BALTIMORE -- The 2010 Tufts University men's lacrosse team won the first-ever NCAA team title in University history with a 9-6 victory over Salisbury University on Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium. The Jumbos (20-1), who had never previously advanced past the NCAA Championship second round, opened up a 7-1 lead and went on to defeat a Salisbury squad (21-2) that has won eight NCAA Championships.

Tufts junior D.J. Hessler (Monkton, MD) was named the Most Outstanding Player of the game, leading the Jumbo offense with a goal and four assists. The Tufts defense held Salisbury to just six goals, matching the Gulls' season-low. Tufts sophomore goalie Steven Foglietta (Oceanside, NY) made 13 saves in the game, including seven in the fourth quarter to bring home the title.

Photos by Ben and James Mackey

"It was an outstanding effort on (Tufts') part today," Salisbury coach Jim Berkman said. "A lot of things that we didn't do well weren't a result of us not doing them well, it was because of their efforts and the things that they did that we couldn't capitalize. Coach Daly did a great job with that team. They had a great run at the end of the season and our hats are off to them as the 2010 national champions."

Getting off to a good start was one of the keys to the game for the Jumbos, and they accomplished that in a major way. Tufts led 6-1 at the end of the first quarter and 7-1 halfway into the second period. They scored the game's first goal when senior tri-captain Doug DiSesa (Wynnewood, PA) collected a ground ball and scored unassisted at 13:30 of the first quarter. Salisbury tied the game at 1-1 on Shawn Zordani's goal at 11:31 of the first quarter, but the Jumbos would score the next five goals in the period. The six goals were the most Salisbury had allowed in a first quarter all year. Sophomore Nick Rhoads (McLean, VA) won seven of eight face-offs in the quarter to spark the Jumbos.

Tufts took a 2-1 lead when Hessler came out from behind the goal and scored unassisted at 10:36 of the first. After another Rhoads face-off win, Jumbo junior Matt Witko (Chappaqua, NY) scored unassisted for a 3-1 Tufts advantage at 9:45. The Jumbos faced the first of three man-down situations in the middle of the first and killed off the Salisbury man-advantage. Foglietta made a save during the man-down and senior tri-captain Mike Droesch (Setauket, NY) grabbed the ground ball and cleared it for Tufts. That soon led to Hessler assisting junior Ryan Molloy (Setauket, NY) for a 4-1 Tufts lead at 6:01 of the first quarter.

Salisbury had some offensive momentum over the next few minutes, but a take-away by Tufts senior defenseman Eytan Saperstein (Hewlett, NY) led to the fifth Tufts goal. That was scored by DiSesa, his second of the game, assisted by Hessler at the 1:33 mark. Rhoads then won the face-off and senior midfielder Jamie Atkins (Concord, MA) came out from behind the net and scored unassisted with 31 seconds on the clock for a 6-1 Jumbo lead. The five-goal margin at the time was the largest that the Sea Gulls had faced all season.

"Our strong start took a lot of pressure off our guys," Tufts coach Mike Daly said. "We were at Cortland last weekend in a great environment against a great team and we didn't respond to well to that early part of the game and it really put a lot of pressure on or team to battle back like we did. We are a team of runs, defensively as well as offensively, unfortunately sometimes. But we just got into one of those grooves early on and it really helped get our bench into it, get our fans into it and keep everything going in the right direction."

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