Cross Ferrara endured a grueling journey to the summit of Salisbury University athletics.
The Appoquinimink High School alumnus from Greenville, Delaware, entered his freshman season standing alongside collegiate lacrosse giants.
After starting two games during his first season in the maroon and gold, Ferrara felt the “hunger” of contributing to a perennial Division III powerhouse and began his pursuit of a once-untouchable feat: shattering the SU men’s lacrosse scoring record.
From national championship heartbreak and controversy to a pandemic-shortened 2019-2020 season, Ferrara and the Sea Gulls navigated obstacles to remain among National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III championship favorites each year, with the graduate attacker tallying 244 goals thus far through his five seasons of action.
The reigning National Player of the Year now closely trails the program record of 249 scores set by Jason Coffman over a quarter century ago.
Ferrara earned consecutive Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Week honors for his recent streak and seeks to break SU’s scoring record during the team’s active three-game road trip, which began Saturday against Christopher Newport University.
Despite on-field heroics for a program with back-to-back national championship victories as recent as 2016 and 2017, respectively, Ferrara has yet to lead the Sea Gulls to the collegiate lacrosse throne.
The missing accolade has become the attacker’s final mission.
“I’m working towards a national championship as a team,” Ferrara said. “The personal accolades are fine, but if you don’t have a ring on your finger, then it really doesn’t mean anything.”
“I just want to win … I won’t remember Conference Player of the Week, [but] I’ll remember a national championship with a special team.”
The “unfinished business” of capturing a 14th championship banner for SU was a driving force in Ferrara’s decision to return as a graduate, with COVID-19 dismantling the Spring 2020 season after two national championship losses since 2018.
“I felt I owed it to the team … to finish the job that I started when I came [to SU] freshman year,” Ferrara said. “This team is so special from top to bottom … the coaches and players give everything to this program.”
The squad’s reloaded roster claimed the top slot of Nike/USA Lacrosse Preseason Poll entering 2022 and maintained top national rankings through its schedule of mixed competition.
SU earned a signature 22-8 blowout win over Washington College in its “War on the Shore” rivalry game Saturday led by Ferrara’s game-high six goals.
Joined by 2021 National Midfielder of the Year – and roommate – Jarrett Bromwell, Ferrara paced the Sea Gulls’ attack with 61 goals through his first 14 starts this season, with Bromwell’s 38 scores ranking second on the team.
SU gauged its postseason aspirations in a tough 17-7 slip to second-ranked CNU, though Ferrara said the team’s on-field chemistry, defensive play and potent offense have become “almost unstoppable” against most teams across the country.
Following the team’s regular season finale hosting University of Mary Washington April 30, the Sea Gulls embark on their bid for a 24th overall conference championship in the C2C Semifinals.
The NCAA Tournament will commence May 11, when SU’s future scoring king will journey to capture his first elusive championship ring.
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image courtesy of Brad Boardman.