Salisbury State coach Jim Berkman got some exciting news yesterday: His Sea Gulls are No. 1 in the new United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association's Division III coaches' poll.
The ranking comes on the strength of three impressive victories. Salisbury beat preseason No. 3 Roanoke, 10-6, in their opener March 7, defending national champion and preseason No. 1 Nazareth, 10-7, Wednesday, and unranked Scranton, 22-7, Saturday.
"It's great news for us," said Berkman, whose Sea Gulls were ranked fifth in the USILA preseason poll. "It's so early, but [being ranked first] helps recruiting by bringing attention to our program."
It also means that Salisbury's 10 remaining opponents, four of which are currently ranked, will have added incentive.
"Everybody's going to be shooting for us now," said Berkman.
The Sea Gulls face No. 14 St. Lawrence Wednesday and No. 20 Franklin & Marshall Saturday. They will play Gettysburg and Washington College, who are tied for sixth, in consecutive games in April.
It is the first time since the end of the 1991 regular season that Salisbury has been ranked first. That year, the Sea Gulls advanced to the final of the NCAA tournament, but fell to Hobart, 12-11, in the championship game. Last year, Salisbury was eliminated by Ithaca, 21-9, in the quarterfinal round.
A game to remember
Even Syracuse coach Roy Simmons had to admit that Loyola's 14-13 overtime win over the Orangemen on Saturday was something special.
"I'm sorry about losing, but after having time to reflect, I realized what a great game it was for the sport of lacrosse," said Simmons. "That's the kind of game that will keep people coming back."
A crowd of 3,557 witnessed the game at Curley Field, and Home Team Sports broadcast the contest live.
"As a coach you feel like it's a good game, but you don't know," said Loyola coach Dave Cottle. "I watched a tape of it [yesterday], and it was very exciting."
Navy's 12-11 upset win of then-No. 7 Duke on Saturday was aided by an unlikely offensive threat in junior Will Reynolds.
Reynolds, a long-stick defensive midfielder who had one goal and no assists in his first two years at Navy, had three goals and an assist to help the Midshipmen come from behind to beat the Blue Devils.