After Saturday's 11-8 victory over Aurora University in the second round of the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Tournament, Denison will travel to Salisbury University for a tournament quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday, May 14 at 7 p.m.
No. 4 Denison brings its program-best 19-0 record into this Wednesday's contest with the Sea Gulls. This will be the first meeting between Denison and Salisbury since 2008, and the 23rd all-time. Salisbury holds a 19-3 advantage in the series. Denison's last win over Salisbury came in the 2001 NCAA quarterfinals where the Big Red knocked off the Gulls 11-6, advancing to the semifinals for the second time in school history. This is the fifth time these two teams have met in NCAA Tournament play. Denison is 1-3 in those previous four games with losses coming in 1982 (quarterfinals), 1999 (semifinals), and 2006 (second round).
Denison head coach Mike Caravana is in his 21st year in Granville and boasts a career record of 227-81 (.737). He has coached the Big Red to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances and is 11-12 in tournament play. This is Denison's 13th appearance in the NCAA's round of eight, and the third quarterfinal appearance for the Big Red since 2009. Denison has advanced to the Final Four, twice (1999 and 2001).
Salisbury head coach Jim Berkman is in his 26th season leading the Sea Gulls. He is the winningest coach in NCAA men's lacrosse history with a career record of 447-49. Since taking over the head job at Salisbury in 1989 his teams have won 10 NCAA Division III national championships.
The 2014 Denison Big Red have re-written the record books, setting new program marks in wins (19), goals (315), assists (188), points (503), and shots (909). Senior attack Eddie Vita has jumped to eighth in career goals (110), 10th in points (181), and 19th in assists (71). He leads DU in points with 73 (36g;37a). First-year attack Luke Walsh broke the freshman scoring record set by Brady Burton '10 in 2007 in Saturday's win over Aurora. He leads the squad with 50 goals. Denison has outscored its opponents 315-101 and outshot the opposition 909-369.
Following an injury to starting faceoff specialist Chip Phillips in February, sophomore Eric Baumgardner took over the draw responsibilities and has flourished. Baumgardner has won 67 percent of his faceoff's (232-of-346) and leads the team with 127 ground balls. Two-time NCAC Defensive Player of the Year Austin Campbell paces the squad with 33 caused turnovers. Sophomore goalie Clark Bullington has only been the team's starter since April 19, but in his five starts he has posted 28 saves and a .609 save percentage.
Salisbury is led in points by Rhett DePol (31g;35a), while Mike Kane is the team's leader in goals scored with 41. The Sea Gulls have outscored the opposition 273-126. Chris Biank is the team's primary FOGO and he is winning 57 percent of his faceoff attempts while leading his team in ground balls with 81. Senior goalie Alex Taylor has started all 20 games. He boasts a .585 save percentage while making 165 saves.
The Sea Gulls joined top-ranked RIT as one of two teams awarded a first round bye from the NCAA. They defeated York 12-6 in Saturday's second round. Donovan Lange scored three goals to lead Salisbury to the win over York. Denison opened with a 19-4 first round win over Centre and followed with the 11-8 win over Aurora in round two.
NOTABLES: Denison has not lost since April 27, 2013 in the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament Championship to Ohio Wesleyan (10-9) … Dating back to early 2013 they have won 31 of their last 33 games played … Salisbury's only loss in 2014 came at the hands of Christopher Newport (8-7 OT), on April 2 … Salisbury has won nine straight games and is coming off a 17-6 season in 2013 … Salisbury suffered a 12-6 loss to eventual national champion, Stevenson, in last year's NCAA semifinals … Denison senior midfielder Chapin Speidel was featured by Lacrosse Magazine's Jac Coyne on Friday (5/9) … In last week's Columbus Dispatch feature, senior Eddie Vita referred to the Big Red as "America's Team" based on the variety of states from which this roster is comprised. Denison's 44-man roster hails from 18 different states and two countries (U.S. and Canada) … since returning as the Big Red's head coach in 2009, Mike Caravana boasts a record of 82-16 (.837). He was named the NCAC Coach of the Year for the fifth time this season … The winner of the Denison-Salisbury game will advance to the semifinals and will play the winner of the Washington College-Stevenson quarterfinal.