FOXBOROUGH - Vito DeMola had seen Syracuse and Duke and all the other powerhouses do it so many times on television, that once the time came for him to celebrate an NCAA championship of his own, he had the scene already planned.
He was going to be the one who kissed the trophy, the one who ran around with the school’s flag.
But when the moment came Sunday, it was too hectic for Dowling College’s senior attacker to think.
“I was like, ‘Where’s our goalie?’ ’’ he said. “ ‘Where’s our faceoff guy?’ ‘Who do I hug first?’ ‘Who’s kissing me on the cheek?’ ’’
Dowling’s 11-10 win over Limestone College in the Division 2 title game at Gillette Stadium was drenched in revenge and redemption and it all poured out in the aftermath of an airtight game.
DeMola put up a season-best 6 points, bundling two assists with four goals - which matched his season high - pushing the Golden Lions to the first national title in school history.
For Dowling, it was about the national championship, but revenge was the added bonus.
Three weeks ago, it hosted Limestone (17-2) for what it figured would be a senior night cakewalk. It turned into an unexpected walkover. The Golden Lions absorbed a 15-7 loss and stewed about having their season nearly spoiled.
With a chance to meet again Sunday, they were able to get some payback, but they had to earn it.
Senior midfielder Brendan Hayes handed out assists on three of Dowling’s first four goals, helping the Golden Lions grab an early lead and withstand the Saints’ second-half push.
“It’s all we’ve talked about since May 6,’’ Dowling coach Tim Boyle said. “That day was hard. We thought we were out of the playoffs.’’
The Golden Lions (13-2) didn’t bother waiting for the trophy to be presented to them, taking it and rushing to celebrate in a mosh in front of their net.
All the while, Limestone coach J.B. Clarke held his players along the sideline, waiting to offer congratulations.
“Our guys tried really hard, it was incredibly disappointing to lose that game today,’’ Clarke said.
Ever since he suffered a heart attack in early March, Salisbury coach Jim Berkman had chosen not to talk about it openly with his team.
“They knew that I had a heart attack, but they didn’t know everything I went through,’’ Berkman said.
With his team on the brink of completing a 23-0 season, he used his story as motivation.
“The whole message was you need to live your life for the moment,’’ said Berkman, 52, and in his 24th season at Salisbury.
Salisbury repeated as Division 3 champs with its 14-10 win over SUNY Cortland (21-1).
For the second straight season Salisbury senior midfielder Sam Bradman won the tournament’s most outstanding player award after scoring six goals.
The USILA announced its Division 1 All-America teams and no one playing in Monday’s national championship game made the first team. Maryland midfielder Jesse Bernhardt was named to the second team, along with Loyola’s Mike Sawyer. The Greyhounds’ Scott Ratcliffe made the third team. Walpole’s Davis Butts received an honorable mention along with Loyola teammates Eric Lusby (who’s scored 13 goals in the tournament), Josh Hawkins, Reid Acton, and Joe Fletcher and Maryland’s Joe Cummings, John Haus, and Niko Amato.