Tufts Defeats Salisbury to Claim Division III Lacrosse Crown

The seven goals in the third quarter were the most allowed by the Sea Gulls in a period this season. It's more goals that Salisbury was allowing per game, as they entered the game with a 6.32 goals against average for the season.

"The only thing we said at the half to the guys was everything needs to get smaller in the second half," Daly said. "We need to shorten our passes, shorten everything we're doing. The only thing that gets bigger in the second half is our smiles, and just go out there and show everyone how much fun we have playing this game, how much passion this team can play with, and just smile. Just get that smile as big across your face as we can get, and that's the short of it."

The Tufts defense stepped up in the fourth quarter as Salisbury tried to get back in it. They scored twice in the opening 5:05 of the period by Lange and Mike Kane cutting the Jumbo lead to 12-8. When Fitzgerald recorded a man-up goal it was a three-goal game (12-9) with 6:52 remaining.

Watkins was at his best in the final six minutes, making several saves. Meanwhile, the Jumbo defense led by the efforts of Blake Wood, Cem Kalkavan, Dan Alles and Garrett Read limited Salisbury's quality shots.

"We've been in the shadow of the offense all year," Watkins said. "Scoring 20 goals a game it's hard to look spectacular on defense, but we're not worried about that. We're not worried about the individual awards. We're just focused on the next stop on defense, getting the next ground ball, the next clear and the next goal."

Soon the Jumbos were storming the field to celebrate another national title.

In winning their second NCAA championship including 2010, the Jumbos overcame the early deficit and a 5-2 disadvantage in penalties. Tufts shut down the first four man-up chances by Salisbury until their final goal. The Jumbos finished 1 for 2 on man-advantages. Tufts was also playing without junior Chris Schoenhut, the nation's leading goal scorer with 80 who was hurt at the NCAA semifinal win at RIT.

Bailey's Most Outstanding Player Award capped a season in which he was won the USILA Turnbull Award, was a First Team All-American and was named NESCAC Player of the Year.

"I wouldn't have that award without the guys who are playing with me," Bailey said about the Most Outstanding Player honor. "They set me up for so many successful plays. It's an honor to play with them, so that's that."

Watkins summed up the day best at the post-game press conference.

"It was so much fun," he said. "So honored to be a part of this. I couldn't be happier right now. I don't even know what to say. The emotions are just all over the place."

* * * *

BALTIMORE The No. 2 Salisbury lacrosse team fell on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in the NCAA Division III national championship game, 12-9, to No. 6 Tufts, marking only the second time in seven trips that the Sea Gulls have dropped a championship game in Baltimore.

"We fought to the bitter end and had a couple opportunities in the fourth quarter to close the game down to a one-goal game, which we didn't quite get," head coach Jim Berkman said. "We had an outstanding season. The quality schedule that we played and the number of top-ranked opponents that we won against has been a testament to the great kids and great leadership that we've had this season."

Tufts jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with a goal from Peter Gill, 55 seconds into the game, but the Sea Gulls answered with a 3-0 run to end the first quarter.

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