CHESTERTOWN -- Salisbury State coach Jim Berkman said he didn't need to deliver any "big, motivational speeches" to his lacrosse team before yesterday's matchup with Eastern Shore rival Washington College.
Many of his Sea Gulls were in uniform last May when the Shoremen visited Sea Gull Stadium and left with a victory and a berth in the semifinals of the NCAA Division III tournament.
But even newcomers like Paul Smith knew what was at stake when the two teams collided in what has become known as the "War on the Shore."
And Smith was prepared.
The sophomore attackman from Yorktown Heights, N.Y., had five goals and one assist to lead Salisbury to a 13-8 victory before an overflow crowd at Washington College's Kibler Field.
The victory extended Salisbury's regular-season winning streak to 35 games and put the Sea Gulls one win away from their second consecutive undefeated regular season.
"The coach told us, 'If you come out flat and let these guys get on you, they're going to win,' " said Smith, who scored four goals during a pivotal five-minute span of the first half. "All they talk about is the 'War on the Shore' and I've never been a part of it, so I just wanted to be a part of it."
Another Salisbury State sophomore attackman -- first-team All-American Jason Coffman -- participated in last year's quarterfinal loss. He took his revenge by contributing two goals and two assists. Coffman's goals came early, and his second, which gave the Sea Gulls a 3-1 lead with 6:55 left in the first quarter, was his 100th career goal.
The Sea Gulls (12-0), who peppered top-ranked Nazareth last Sunday, 21-2, in Rochester, N.Y., led 5-2 after one quarter.
They stretched the lead to 8-2 on a pair of goals by Smith and the other on an assist from Smith to senior midfielder Ryan Murphy (Broadneck).
"We just wanted to focus on playing well for 60 minutes here today," said Berkman. "If we play well and do the things that we're capable of doing, we like our chances of winning against anybody."
The fifth-ranked Shoremen (7-4), who suffered their first Division III loss last week to Gettysburg, pulled back to within four in the third quarter after two goals by Bart Jaeger and the fourth and final goal by Jason Paige.
Smith closed out the third-quarter scoring with an unassisted goal.
Salisbury's senior goalkeeper, Erik Miller, a graduate of Bel Air High School, had a lot to do with the fourth-quarter shutout with eight of his 24 saves.
Chris Cote was one of three Washington College players who scored, finishing with two goals and three assists.
Todd Cliggett had two goals and two assists for the Sea Gulls, and Jamie Carver (South Carroll) had two assists for the Shoremen.
"They got great goaltending, and they dominated the faceoffs [16-9], and if you do those two things, you're in pretty good shape," said Washington College coach Terry Corcoran. "We had our opportunities to score, but we got the door shut on us. We just couldn't break that five-goal cushion."