Dickinson, Salisbury Ascend Nike/USL Division III Men's Top 20

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Austin Short (26) and Salisbury got the better of Danny O'Connell (27) and York in the CAC championship game Saturday, propelling the Sea Gulls to an NCAA tournament first-round bye and pushing the Spartans into a tough portion of the bracket.


All eyes are now set on May 27, as the NCAA tournament field is set in Division III men’s lacrosse. RIT, Gettysburg, Salisbury and Tufts earned the top four seeds, setting the stage for what should be some thrilling regional play.

Particularly, RIT’s side of the bracket includes Stevens, York and Amherst, three programs that could make some serious noise. Staunch competition also awaits Tufts’ side of the bracket, with Cabrini and Wesleyan capable of advancing far.

Perhaps the easiest route to the final four belongs to Gettysburg, despite the Bullets losing the Centennial Conference championship game to Dickinson. Other favorites on their side of the bracket include Ohio Wesleyan and Denison out of the NCAC. Down in Salisbury’s corner, the two-time defending national champions are likely favorites, but the likes of Dickinson and Roanoke won’t make it easy.

As is the case with any NCAA tournament selection process, there are some programs left wondering how they didn’t get in. That emotion is likely strong for Franklin & Marshall, RPI and Williams, as they all put together strong regular seasons but fell just short in the end.






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Hot

Dickinson (+5)

The Red Devils will enter the NCAA tournament surging with confidence after a thrilling win over Gettysburg in the Centennial Conference final. Brodie Phillips scored the game-winner with 1:26 left in the fourth quarter, securing a 9-8 victory and exacting revenge for a midseason loss to the Bullets. A hot goalie can carry a team deep into May, and Dickinson has exactly that with Cole Pellicano. He made 13 saves against Gettysburg.

Salisbury (+4)

The good times keep on rolling for Jim Berkman’s group, as they’ve now won 10 straight games. Their latest trick is securing the CAC tournament with an 11-8 win over York, a side they lost 15-6 to back in late March. The back-to-back national champions have much work to do if they want to play at Gillette Stadium on Memorial Day weekend, but they’re certainly on the right track.

Stevens (+2)

The Ducks have reached double-digit wins for the sixth time this decade. More impressively, with this past Saturday’s win over St. John’s Fisher, they’ve now won the Elite 8 conference for the ninth straight year. Part and parcel with that is a first-round NCAA tournament matchup vs. Springfield, this year’s NEWMAC champions. Along the way, Max Bailey has put up a remarkable 90 points via 25 goals and 65 assists.

Not

Amherst (-4)

After falling in the NESCAC semifinals to Tufts, an NCAA tournament matchup with Keene State, the Little East champs, awaits. Amherst is still one of the nation’s top teams, but losses to Wesleyan, RIT and now Tufts show they’ve struggled against top programs. To advance deep into May, they’ll have to buck that trend.

Gettysburg (-4)

The Bullets fell 9-8 in the Centennial Conference championship game to Dickinson, but their regular season record speaks for itself. That’s set the stage for a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament. Since the turn of the century, Gettysburg has made the big dance 15 times.

York (-3)

The Spartans couldn’t best a red-hot Salisbury team in the CAC final, falling 11-8. That result likely cost York a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament, and now it is on the same side of the bracket as Amherst and RIT, top of the country’s top programs. With four players who have scored at least 30 goals, York boasts plenty of firepower to advance far.

In

Lynchburg

What a turnaround it’s been for the Hornets, who began the year 2-4 and now are ODAC champions after beating Roanoke 13-8 on Saturday. It was sweet revenge for a program that has now made seven consecutive NCAA tournaments, as it lost 13-11 to Roanoke back on March 31. Trammel Robinson was the difference maker in the ODAC title game, as he put up four goals and one assist. The Hornets will have to raise the bar even higher in the national tournament, as they’re up against Centennial Conference champion Dickinson.

Springfield

For the 11th straight year, the NEWMAC title belongs to Springfield. This time around, the Pride knocked off Coast Guard 11-7 behind attackmen Jack Vail and Tom Hurley combining for four goals and five assists. Jack Reynolds was stellar in net, putting up 17 saves after beating Babson in the semifinal round. They could be primed for an upset against Stevens in the NCAA tournament.

Colorado College

For the second straight year, the Tigers will face Cabrini in the NCAA tournament. Last year, they were blown out 22-10 by the CSAC champion, which enters the contest with six consecutive wins. To score the upset, CC will look to shut down Jordan Krug, US Lacrosse Magazine’s Preseason Player of the Year, who’s put up 53 goals and 28 assists. CC’s star player to watch for is Robbie Stern (48 goals, 22 assists).

Out

RPI

The Engineers won 12 of 13 games at one point this season, but closed out their campaign by dropping two straight. Notably, they lost 8-7 in double overtime to Ithaca in their Liberty League semifinal, failing to secure three-goal and two-goal leads at various points. With those year-end struggles, RPI failed to earn its first NCAA tournament bid since 2016.

Coast Guard

The Bears, despite an impressive regular-season win over Wesleyan, couldn’t get it done when the stakes were highest, falling 11-7 to Springfield in the NEWMAC title game. Just 24 of their 42 shots found net, while under 20 percent beat Pride goalkeeper Jack Reynolds. Earlier this season, Coast Guard fell to Springfield 11-8.

St. Lawrence

The Saints were always fighting an uphill battle to make the NCAA tournament, as they came up against – and ultimately lost 13-11 – to RIT in the Liberty League semifinals. A silver lining is they lost by just two goals each time they met the country’s last undefeated team.

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