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May 28, 2017

Jim Berkman

Carson Kalama

Will Nowesnick

Colin Reymann

Boston, Massachusetts

Salisbury - 15, RIT - 7

JIM BERKMAN: First of all, congratulations to RIT and Coach Coon. They had a tremendous season and a great run to the Northern bracket, which was extremely difficult this year. It's a tribute to what he's done there over the last eight years he's been there with that program.

Congrats to our seniors. It's a group of 11 guys that really gave us great leadership this year, and we didn't miss a beat throughout the year with the great leadership. Very, very, very proud of them and their improvement, and they're keeping the legacy of Seagull lacrosse going and doing it with honor on and off the field.

Q. Colin, what did you see from your defense today? This offense for RIT came in averaging nearly 18 points a game and you guys held them to below half of that.
COLIN REYMANN: The D played phenomenal like they do day in and day out, not just what you guys see in games, but every day in practice. They're truly the best defense in the country, and I get to see it six days of the week. You guys only get it see it once. But they played phenomenal. We played the pick-and-splits very well, and I expected nothing less from this guy.

Q. Carson, when you guys were up 5-4 in the second quarter and then you had that big third quarter, did you see a turning point in between that point in the game?
CARSON KALAMA: I don't think there was a turning point. I think we stayed the course of the game. You know, the defense did a tremendous job playing their scouting report. I think on the offensive end we were able to capitalize when we needed to. We never really trailed in the game except the first goal. We were just able to execute our plays and exploit what the RIT defense was doing. You know, on the offensive end we did a great job of doing that, and that's why we came out victorious today.

Q. Colin, you told me this week if you were a betting man, Will would be in the lineup. How nice was it to have him back in front of you today?
COLIN REYMANN: After I said that, I kind of regretted that comment, because I thought, oh, now RIT knows he's playing. But other than that, it was phenomenal -- Will did a great job. I'm glad that his brain was working. I know what it's like having concussions, and yeah, he was kind of looking up at the sky for some of those practices a few days. But Bork, who filled in for him, did a great job, but I mean, there's no replacing No. 11, and it was great to see him out there, and he made some tremendous plays.

Q. Will, can you talk about your individual matchup with Ryan Lee? How were you able to hold him to one goal, zero assists?
WILL NOWESNICK: Well, I think the biggest key today a little bit is how calm the defense was. It's the biggest game of the season, but how calm it was, how no one was yelling at each other. The whole atmosphere allowed me to focus in on what I had to do, and I was able to hear what the coaches were saying on the sideline. It was just the family chemistry and the peacefulness on the field that I think allowed me -- and also, I mean, it wasn't me, it was the team. They were always there. If I slid, they were there. They did their jobs, one on one matchups, when someone else was diving so I didn't have to leave him because he's a very big shooter, biggest shooter on that team. I have to credit it to the team. I think I was just out there. But it was fun. It was a lot of fun.

Q. Carson, being here last year and winning it and having that experience coming into today, how do you think that helped you guys out?
CARSON KALAMA: Yeah, obviously being in this position last year, RIT, that group of guys has never been to the national championship, so we had that experience going in, and we were just -- it was just a calm, calm group of guys, and we've been there so we know what to expect. We didn't let the emotion of the game get to us. So it definitely helped us, the experience, and being here before.

Q. Will, did you always believe that you were going to play in this game no matter what?
WILL NOWESNICK: You know, I'm not going to lie; coming to Salisbury, there's a lot of, I guess, expectation that you'll be in this game, but a lot of faith that you'll be in this game, as well. When I couldn't play in that Denison game, I knew the guys were going to get it done. I knew they were going to get me here. It was hard to watch, I'll tell you. It was pretty stressful. I lost a couple days. But you know, I felt that we were going to be here between the coaching staff, the rest of the players, the seniors, captains. It's almost inevitable, there's no way we couldn't get here after how hard everybody worked.

Q. How much do you think -- with a relatively tight game there at the midpoint, how much did the groundball battle in the second half really separate things for you guys?
JIM BERKMAN: Well, going into the game, a lot of people talk about the goals and this and that, but to us the two keys for the game to beat RIT were the face-offs and the clearing, so that we didn't give them opportunities. They had a reputation of a 10-man riding team and causing a lot of people havoc, and even though we turned it over a couple times today, we still cleared I think 15 out of 18 times, and even though we got off to slow start after the first quarter, we kind of won the battle to get those possessions. I knew we were going to score if we could get those possessions, and i thought those were the two keys.

But we did a great job on the groundballs, too. That's a tribute to our defensemen; Tucker and Will and Aaron are just tremendous, have tremendous sticks, and they're all pretty fast, and you can throw Andrew Ternahan in there, too. And I thought Jeremiah LaClair had a lot of really nice groundballs today in traffic. But definitely those three stats were the things that we were kind of focusing in because we knew if we got the ball, we could score.

Q. Coach, can you put your senior class in perspective, how the first two years -- freshman year losing to Tufts in the title game, following year you didn't make the title game, and then the past two years you win it all?
JIM BERKMAN: Well, it's right up there as one of the greatest classes. They played in three championship games, they won two. They've now won in the mid 80s a number of games in their four-year career, which is kind of like unheard of in the game of lacrosse. It's a pretty special group. Very, very intelligent group in the classroom. They've far exceeded any other -- I mean, we had 8 of 11 seniors have above a 3.5 on this team, I believe. You're going to see here in another week, we're probably going to have four academic all-Americans, too, on this team. So it's a very bright group to get it done on and off the field.

But also a group that makes people accountable. They knew how to answer the difficult questions and ask them when some people weren't getting it done, and to make sure that we improved throughout the year.

As we ended the year, there was a great deal of uncertainty on this team. We knew we were pretty good at both ends, but when you lose six midfielders and the Player of the Year in the middle of the field, that's a pretty big question mark, but that second midfield developed with the leadership with the senior class, and today, what did they have, they had quite a few points today, the second line once again. Reynolds had three and Huber had one and McDermott had four points. That development of that group was critical to our success. But I think the seniors' leadership and holding those guys accountable for the extra things they needed to do to put us in this position was definitely a key to the success of the team.

Q. To elaborate on that point, where does this particular defensive unit rank all time for you?
JIM BERKMAN: You know, people talk about Salisbury lacrosse and they always talk about offense. Berkman is an offensive guy. Well, if you look back and track all of the records for a number of years and you go back and back and back, we very seldom are a team that gives us more than six or seven goals, and we've had a lot of great defenders here. I mean, we've got Kyle Hartzell is trying to make another world team, and you had Eric Martin playing on a world team. But I think as a collective group, when you look at the three guys, this might be the best.

To me Aaron Leeds is the best third defensiveman I've ever coached. He made a couple big plays in the fourth quarter again today with stealing the ball on a great play in the clear. And then you've got a first-team all-American at long pole, and he had a pretty good game today, No. 8, Cory Berry had three takeaways, but you guys haven't seen anything; wait until next year when the kid gets his hip operated. He's functioning at about 25 percent. That kid is unbelievable. But the key to our season and our defense, even thought those guys were that great were definitely D middies. You lose Preston Dabbs and Davis Anderson, two four-year starters at D-middie, and you replace them with a guy that used to play attack and a guy that used to play long stick, Jeremiah LaClair, and they develop and they get better each and every day and have great speed. It made it one of our best defensive units collectively, I think, right up there with the top three or four that ever played in a pretty storied program.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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