'War' never materializes as Salisbury rolls, 24-6

May 16, 1994|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Staff Writer

SALISBURY -- Salisbury State made a mockery of the so-called War on the Shore, as the Sea Gulls easily dispatched Eastern Shore rival Washington College in yesterday's NCAA Division III men's lacrosse quarterfinals.

The top-ranked Sea Gulls took control with a near-flawless third quarter, then poured it on in the final period to complete a 24-6 rout before 1,455 at Sea Gull Stadium.

The victory sends Salisbury State (14-0) into Sunday's semifinal, where it will resume pursuit of its first national championship against Gettysburg. The site will be announced today.

Besides moving along in the playoffs, the Sea Gulls exorcised a few demons. They won a first-round playoff game for the first time since 1991, and although they beat Washington for the fifth time in their past six attempts, the Sea Gulls had never beaten the Shoremen in the postseason before yesterday. Many of the Sea Gulls experienced last year's 12-11 upset loss to Washington in the quarterfinals.

"I haven't mentioned 12-11 to them since it happened," said Salisbury State coach Jim Berkman, who has taken the Sea Gulls to the playoffs in each of his six seasons there. "This is a new team. It's a team with more weapons on offense. But we're feeling good. We just got a monkey off our backs.

"I was real happy with the way we played the last three quarters, after we got rid of the jitters. In the last three quarters, our depth kind of kicked in."

Not to mention sophomore All-America attackman Jason Coffman. He led the Sea Gulls' offense with a game-high six goals and three assists. He also set a single-season school record when he scored his 62nd goal yesterday.

Coffman had plenty of assistance, as the Sea Gulls overmatched sixth-ranked Washington in every phase.

Salisbury State outshot Washington (10-5) by a 59-29 margin. The Sea Gulls outscored the Shoremen 16-2 in the second half, turning an 8-4 contest at halftime into a laugher.

"This is a big steppingstone for us," Coffman said. "Our whole team was devastated when we lost last year. Everybody had that little bit of fear in practice last week.

"Our offense really came to play in the second half. It was a weird feeling out there. It was like everything we did in the second half, we did right. We played incredible team defense."

Indeed, Salisbury State is known for its explosive attack, but the Sea Gulls also have made a name for themselves by shutting down opponents. They ended the regular season having allowed only 6.6 goals per game.

Led by All-America defenseman candidate Chris McQueeney and three strong midfield units, the Sea Gulls buried Washington's attack. Jason Paige, Chris Sanchez, Bart Jaeger and Chris Cote combined for 176 goals during the regular season, but managed only two between them yesterday.

"We shut off Cote completely. We didn't let him get the ball," McQueeney said. "I definitely wanted to get some revenge today. I think we showed we're a much better team. I just wanted to get over the hump and get rid of the jinx."

The game turned on a 25-minute stretch in which Salisbury State held Washington scoreless.

The Shoremen broke through early, converting on consecutive, extra-man opportunities to take leads of 1-0 and 2-1. But four different Sea Gulls scored during a 4-0 run, giving Salisbury a 5-2 lead.

Jamie Carver pulled the Shoremen to 6-4 with 6:16 left in the first half, and that was it for Washington's offense for the next 25 minutes. Meanwhile, Dan Mergott and Coffman scored in the final two minutes to give the Sea Gulls an 8-4 lead at the break.

Salisbury State took command immediately in the third period. Dod Poe, Paul Smith and Sean Radebaugh scored in the first two minutes to give Salisbury State an 11-4 advantage. By the end of the period, the Sea Gulls had won seven of eight faceoffs, outshot Washington, 14-3, and rolled to a 15-4 lead.

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