DIII men's lacrosse championship: Wesleyan defeats Salisbury for first-ever national title
After reaching the final in a game featuring 37 goals, Wesleyan (CT) won the 2018 Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship title game by grinding out an 8-6 win over Salisbury at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first seven minutes of the game, and a brief second-quarter run by Salisbury aside, Wesleyan rode their lead all the way to the final whistle and the program's first national title in history. Wesleyan's win prevented Salisbury from winning its third national title in a row; the Seagulls defeated RIT in last year's championship game, and Tufts the year before.
In the semifinals, Wesleyan played against undefeated heavy favorite RIT, but it was Wesleyan which dictated play from the first whistle. The Cardinals jumped out to huge leads in the first and second quarters, and kept pushing in the second half, eventually leading by as many as eight goals in the fourth quarter. But RIT wasn't going down without a fight and twice trimmed the once-huge lead to one-goal deficits during a 16-goal fourth quarter. But the Tigers couldn't knot the thing up and eventually fell 19-18.
In the second semifinal game, things were far more... defensive. Salisbury and Gettysburg dueled to a 3-3 tie in the first half, and at one point went more than 14 minutes of game time without a goal. Defending champ Salisbury didn't hold a lead until the fourth quarter, but when the Seagulls finally managed to pull ahead, they refused to let the Bullets regain the lead before the final whistle blew.
It was quite a tournament, and in the end Wesleyan capitalized on being the sharpest of the last four teams to win their coveted trophy -- first with offense, and then with defense.
You can scroll below for a minute-by-minute recap of Sunday's DIII men's lacrosse final:
INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Committee has selected the teams that will compete in the 2018 NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championship.
The championship provides for a 36-team tournament. Automatic qualification (AQ) is granted to 25 conference champions, which form “Pool A.” Two teams are selected from true independents and schools from conferences that do not have an automatic bid for their champions (Pool B). The remaining nine teams are selected from those teams in conferences with automatic bids that did not win their conference’s AQ and the remaining Pool B institutions (Pool C). The teams are geographically paired, whenever possible.
Except for the championship game, all games will be played on the campus of one of the competing teams. First round competition will be held on Tuesday, May 8 with the winners advancing to play in the second round on Wednesday, May 9. The 16 remaining teams will play in the third round on Saturday, May 12. The quarterfinals will take place on Wednesday, May 16 and the semifinals will be played Sunday, May 20.
This year’s finalists will advance to Foxborough, Mass. for the championship game at Gillette Stadium, which will be played at 1 p.m. Eastern time, Sunday, May 27, and shown via web stream on NCAA.com. That game will be followed by the Division II championship at 4 p.m. Eastern time, which can also be seen on NCAA.com. The Division I semifinals and championship are Saturday, May 26 and Monday, May 28 at the same site.
For more information about the NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championship, go to NCAA.com/lacrosse.
The champions of the following conferences received automatic qualification (AQ):
|Commonwealth Coast Conference||Western New England (13-6)|
|Empire 8||Stevens (17-2)|
|Great Northeast Athletic Conference||Johnson & Wales (RI) (9-11)|
|Liberty League||RIT (18-0)|
|Little East Conference||Keene State (12-4)|
|North Atlantic Conference||New England College (15-4)|
|North Eastern Athletic Conference||Morrisville State (11-7)|
|Skyline Conference||Merchant Marine (13-2)|
|State University of New York Athletic Conference||SUNY Cortland (12-6)|
|Capital Athletic Conference||Salisbury (16-3)|
|Centennial Conference||Dickinson (15-3)|
|Colonial States Athletic Conference||Cabrini (16-2)|
|Landmark Conference||Elizabethtown (9-9)|
|Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association||Albion (10-7)|
|Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth||Stevenson (12-6)|
|Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom||Eastern (12-6)|
|Midwest Lacrosse Conference||Aurora (19-1)|
|North Coast Athletic Conference||Denison (15-3)|
|Ohio Athletic Conference||John Carroll (13-4)|
|Ohio River Men's Lacrosse Conference||Transylvania (12-6)|
|Old Dominion Athletic Conference||Lynchburg (12-8)|
|Southern Athletic Association||Rhodes (13-2)|
|USA South Athletic Conference||Huntingdon (16-2)|
|POOL B SELECTIONS|
|Colorado College (13-1)|
|Illinois Wesleyan (16-3)|
|POOL C SELECTIONS|
|Christopher Newport (14-4)|
|Ohio Wesleyan (15-3)|
|Washington & Lee (14-4)|
|Wesleyan (CT) (14-3)|
|York (PA) (17-2)|