BY RICKY POLLITT
Saturday would be the last of many things for the Salisbury University men’s lacrosse team.
The day marked the end of the regular season, one of the last days the seniors would play in front of their home crowd and the final time the Sea Gulls would do their famous tunnel walk to officially mark the start of the game.
With the new Sea Gull Stadium, players will no longer need to walk through the SU tunnel to get to the stadium, bringing an end to the 21-year tradition.
“That was the coolest environment I’ve had in the tunnel,” senior midfielder Thomas Cirillo said. “You walk through that tunnel and you see it all.”
As the game began, Salisbury (17-0) would be faced with its ninth ranked opponent of the season – the Cabrini Cavaliers (9-4).
The Sea Gulls got the scoring going early as junior attack Carson Kalama took a low shot on Cabrini goalie Tyler Morrell. However, less than a minute later, Cavalier midfielder Timmy Brooks put one past SU keeper Colin Reymann to tie it up.
The match went back and forth as the first 15 minutes played out, but two straight goals from senior attack Ethan Heisman gave Cabrini a two goal lead as the second quarter began.
It was a different feeling for the top team in the country trailing in a game, but with five minutes remaining in the half, Salisbury found its groove.
The Sea Gulls went on a 4-0 run to finish out the half while adding five straight goals to start the third quarter, giving SU a 13-6 lead entering the final quarter.
“Early in the game, we had some guys on defense that weren’t following the game plan, but once we stopped sliding and giving guys free looks it made it difficult for them to score,” Sea Gulls’ head coach Jim Berkman said.
The SU defense shutout out the Cabrini offense in the third quarter, and only allowed two other goals after.
Reymann recorded 12 saves, while the defensive unit caused 21 turnovers and cleared 21 balls.
“The defense played great. I felt like the first quarter we were kind of slow and starting the second quarter we started picking up, and coming out in the second half we started on fire, so we just kept it rolling,” Reymann said.
Cirillo and Kalama led the charge for the Salisbury offense notching four goals a piece, while senior midfielder James Burton recorded five assist.
With the 9-0 run helping the Gulls secure the victory, Salisbury sent a message that they can score on anyone regardless of the opponent.
“It’s a major accomplishment, but the main thing is you have to stay humble, you have to stay hungry,” Cirillo said. “We just have to keep progressing and keep getting better.”
The regular season is officially in the books for the Gulls, and after clinching the top seed in the conference with a victory over York on Wednesday, Salisbury will have the week to prepare for the semi-final round of the CAC tournament next Saturday.
“We’re getting better on offense, getting better on defense and starting to really jell,” Berkman said. “We’re playing our best, and it’s exciting to be out here.”