It almost does not seem fair.
The players from Cabrini University had taken down 12-time NCAA Division III men’s lacrosse champion Salisbury State — an outstanding accomplishment. They had thrown down Goliath.
That, however, was in the semifinals, the penultimate point in the championship journey. There is still one more game to win. To claim its first Division III championship, Cabrini (21-2) must beat Amherst College (18-3) at 4 p.m. Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
“Yes, out here we strive to compete at [Salisbury State’s] level, beat them every single time, but we know they are the team we usually have to go through,” said Jordan Krug, who had a game-high seven goals from his attack position in the 16-13 win last Sunday at Salisbury.
“We beat [Salisbury]. We celebrated that, but we realize the celebration on Sunday could be a thousand times bigger than that,” added Krug, a senior from Cherokee High School. “We’re excited, and we are dialing in for this game with Amherst.”
There are qualifications to city-wide celebrations, but Cabrini could become the first men’s lacrosse team to bring an NCAA title to Philadelphia. The entire town of Radnor might make the 30-minute drive.
"It’s something every coach or athlete who has entered this game wants to be a part of the experience,” Cabrini coach Steve Colfer said. “You watch championship weekend on television and dream about it.
“For our program to finally now be participants, it is special. We obviously have to stay focused on the task at hand of playing a talented and well-coached Amherst program. We look forward to the challenge.”
NCAA Final Four weekend is unique in that it includes the Division II and III championships. The Division I semifinals are Saturday and the finals Monday.
“I personally love the format,” Amherst coach Jon Thompson said. “It’s the best lacrosse in the country at the best lacrosse time of the year being at one site, which is an NFL stadium. That’s a remarkable achievement by our coaches’ group.”
Paced by Krug (80 goals, 36 assists, 116 points), Cabrini (21-2) has outscored opponents by nearly 150 goals — an astonishing number. The Cavaliers have scored 20 or more nine times and been held to single digits just twice. Conversely, Cabrini has surrendered 10 or more goals in just five games.
During the regular season, Cabrini ranked third among Division III teams in scoring defense and ninth in scoring. Goalie Riley White ranked sixth in goals against.
Amherst ranked in the top 15 in 10 statistical categories.
“Hopefully, we’ll do well in representing our school and program,” Colfer said. “This is in Philadelphia, and the majority of the players and coaches are from here. It is special, but we can’t let that overwhelm us.