May 27, 2012

Bradman Scores Six as Salisbury Caps Perfect Year

by Corey McLaughlin | | Twitter | Live Blog Replay

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The punctuation mark on Salisbury's perfect season and second straight national championship, a 14-10 win over Cortland, came on instructions from Sam Bradman's teammate and roommate, Matt Cannone.

The Sea Gulls finally had some breathing room — a 13-10 lead with three minutes left in the fourth quarter — in what was a tightly contested, back-and-forth Division III men's lacrosse title game at Gillette Stadium.

Sam Bradman scored three of Salisbury's first four goals and found success in the pick-and-roll game in the Sea Gulls' 14-10 win over Cortland on Sunday in the Division III national championship game.
© Kevin P. Tucker

Bradman had the ball on a sideline re-start out of a timeout and faced two defenders. "We had the three-goal lead and coach wanted to air the ball out. Matt came up to me and said, 'If you get a shot at the open net, seal this.'" Bradman said.

On the whistle, Bradman sprinted toward the top of the box and cut down the right alley to get free. He let fly a shot that became his sixth goal of the day. It was the last score of Bradman's decorated Salisbury career, his 71st of the season, and provided the final margin in the Sea Gulls' victory over the previously unbeaten Red Dragons.

"I looked at him right after and said, 'Thank you,'" said Cannone, who had two goals and three assists. "It's unbelievable that we were able to accomplish our goals this year. We wanted to go perfect and end the right way. Just being able to go out there with 18 seniors and all the guys and accomplish our goals is an unbelievable feeling."

Bradman, who added an assist to finish with seven points, won most outstanding player honors in the championship game, becoming the first to win the award in consecutive seasons at the Division III level. Salisbury finished 23-0, one year after going 21-1 and beating Tufts in the 2011 final, in which Bradman scored seven.

This win also capped Salisbury's sixth undefeated season in program history and gave the Gulls' a 10th D-III championship overall.

"We've had some pretty special teams at Salisbury, but in the same sentence I can honestly say that this team is right there," Salisbury coach Jim Berkman said.

On Sunday, senior attackman Lantz Carter added three goals and Tyler Granelli won 16-of-26 faceoffs as Salisbury pulled away in the fourth quarter. Ryan Clarke scored on a high-to-high shot from the right wing with 9:05 left to give the Sea Gulls a 12-10 lead, and Carter scored less than minute later in a key spurt before Bradman's final goal with 2:57 left. Granelli won each faceoff during the stretch.

"It was keeping our composure," Cannone said. "I remember my defenseman saying to me, 'I'm cramping up.' Being here two times before [in 2010 and 2011], learning from your mistakes, staying hydrated and off your feet this whole weekend, not getting caught up in the moment — those were important things, and one of the advantages of being here two times."

Cortland (21-1) never trailed by more than two goals until the fourth quarter but found it difficult to handle the Salisbury offense. Bradman scored the game's first goal 29 seconds in, drawing three defenders, yet put in a right-handed jump shot from the alley anyway. He scored three of Salisbury's first four, and had a hat trick just more than one minute into the second quarter off a beautiful, crossfield skip pass from goal-line extended by Tony Mendes.

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