SALISBURY, Md. – The second ranked Salisbury University men's lacrosse team earned a nail biting 9-7 season opening victory on Sunday afternoon over the visiting Vikings of Berry College. Junior goalie Brandon Warren helped the Sea Gulls lock up the victory, posting a career-high 17 saves on the afternoon.
Warren surpassed his previous career-high of 12, which he set in Salisbury's (1-0) overtime victory against Washington College in the Charles B. Clark Cup game last season. On Sunday afternoon Warren was at his best when he needed to be, tallying four man-down saves to hold the Vikings (0-1) to a 1-for-6 mark on extra-man opportunities for the contest.
Warren was dominant throughout the game, but in both the second and fourth quarters was virtually impregnable, tallying six saves in each quarter. Combined, Warren faced 28 shots including a quarter-high 16, nine of which were on goal, by the Vikings in the second. He would record two saves in the final two and a half minutes of play in the first half, including one in the final 60 seconds to keep the score line at 4-3 heading into the break.
Josh Melton finished the game as the maroon and gold's leading scorer, netting four markers on the afternoon. Melton aided in the fourth quarter outburst netting a hat-trick that included two straight, with his first tally of the frame coming on a man-up opportunity as he finished off a nice pass from Cross Ferrara to push the Salisbury lead to 7-5. Melton capped off the scoring for the afternoon by tallying his fourth and final marker with 5:47 left to play to push the lead to 9-6.
Holding a 9-7 advantage with just over three-minutes left to play, Berry was awarded with what proved to be its final man-up opportunity of the afternoon. However, the Vikings were unable to capitalize as Warren made two saves in a 14-second span. He calmly snatched a shot attempt out of the air by Berry's Harris Hudson and pushed the ball downfield on the clear attempt to allow the offense to run out the remainder of the man-down situation. It ended up being the Viking's last real offensive opportunity to get back in the game.
The defense forced 28 Berry turnovers with Drew Borkowicz leading the way with four caused turnovers, while Kevin Murphy had three of his own. The two players combined for 10 groundballs as Murphy posted a team-high six.
Overall, Salisbury won 10-of-18 faceoffs led by Brett Malamphy's eight, scooped up 38 groundballs, and went 20-of-27 in clears.
Salisbury returns to action on Saturday, February 9 when it travels to Lynchburg, Virginia to take on No. 20 University of Lynchburg. Faceoff between the Sea Gulls and Hornets is slated for 1 p.m.