Salisbury State poised for three-peat Depth, experience make Sea Gulls heavy favorites

State Division III preview

March 01, 1996|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Salisbury State lacrosse coach Jim Berkman said it's too early to compare his team to 13-time Division III champion Hobart.

"Hobart had a great run," Berkman said, just days before his team defeated Nazareth, 23-13, in last season's title game in College Park. "Hopefully, down the line, we can compare."

The comparisons are being made now, however, and why not? The two-time defending national champions enter the 1996 season riding a 33-game winning streak, and bring a 51-game regular-season string into tomorrow's opener at home against Greensboro.

Since Berkman arrived on the Eastern Shore campus eight years ago, the Sea Gulls are 93-13, including 73-4 the past five seasons.

If Salisbury, an overwhelming preseason favorite, wins a third straight title, it would join Johns Hopkins, Syracuse and Hobart as the only lacrosse teams to win three consecutive collegiate championships.

"Salisbury is by far the best team in Division III," said Washington College coach John Haus. "They are head and shoulders above everyone else."

Berkman said, "There's no question that we have lots of depth and the qualities to be a great team again this year. We're excited about the season. Our goal is to reach our potential, and the winning will take care of itself."

Here is a look at the state's six Division III men's lacrosse teams:

Goucher

1995 record: 5-8

Coach: Jim Lyons (first year)

Key losses: Bill Condon, D; Chris Horowicz, D.

Top returnees:Top returnees: Brent Grabil, Soph., A; Dan DeFilippo, Jr., M; Chris Corr, Soph., A; Keith Guinto, Jr., M; Tavius Cheatham, Sr., M; Matt Cartwright, Soph, D; Michael Tartamella, Soph., G.

Top newcomers: Dave Clossey, Fr., A; Erik Oksala, Fr., A; Tim Asher, Fr., A; Brad Brache, Fr., D; Andres Zapate, Fr, D.

Outlook: The Gophers have only one senior and a new coach who has asked them to learn a new system, but for the first time in the team's five-year history, Goucher has players with college experience, including a full line of midfielders. Cheatham, the lone senior, and Guinto are captains and will head up the midfield. Asher, a freshman attackman from Curley, has shown promise in preseason workouts. Goucher's defense returns only one starter (Cartwright), which could make the early season difficult for Tartamella.

Salisbury

1995 record: 17-0 (Division III national champions)

Coach:Coach: Jim Berkman (8th year, 93-13)

Key losses: Sean Radebaugh, A; Dan Mergott, M.

Top returnees: Jason Coffman, Sr., A; Paul Smith, Sr., A; Chris McQueeney, Sr., D; Jake Bergey, Jr., M; Brendan Bellotte, Jr., D.

Top newcomers: Anthony Tufano, Jr., G; Rob Uhlig, Fr., A; Cory Smith, Fr., M; Glen Doss, Fr., M; Josh Tidwell, Fr., A.

Outlook: The two-time defending national champions return 28 players and six starters, including Coffman, a three-time first team All-American, and McQueeney, the top defenseman in Division III. Stash Rote, who recorded a .627 save percentage in 12 games last season, returns, as does Smith, a member the Sea Gulls' first-attack unit that scored 182 goals last season. Bergey, another first-team All-American, is the only returnee from last year's first line, but Salisbury's midfield still boasts plenty of depth, speed and experience.

St. Mary's

1995 record: 10-2

Coach: Jason Hurley (7th year, 46-29)

Key losses:Key losses: Chris Gress, D; Matt Madsen, G; Jim Mohler, A.

Top returnees:Top returnees: Steve Spence, Sr., M; Justin Robinson, Jr, M; Mike Fraioli, Jr., M; Dave Weinrich, Sr., A; Doug Stark, Sr., M; Jim Rogalski, Sr.,D.

Top newcomers: C. J. Lauer, Fr., A; Jeff Jeffers, Fr., M; Chris Gable, Fr., D; Jeremy Smith, Fr., G.

Outlook: The team lacks experience at defense and attack, having lost two starters in both areas, but the Seahawks only lost four players from last year's team and are deep at all positions. St. Mary's returns all of its midfielders, including including Capital Athletic Conference first-team selections Spence (12 goals, 33 assists) and Robinson, a long-stick midfielder. Hurley, last year's CAC Coach of the Year, bolstered his attack by recruiting Lauer out of Fallston.

Villa Julie

1995 record: 3-7

Coach: Scott Linzey (first year)

Key losses: Rob Jarmer, A.

Top returnees: Peter Nee, Sr., A; Jeremy Bender, Sr., M; Chris Beck, Jr. M; Trey Shackelford, Sr., G.

Top newcomers: Ricky Sanchez, Jr., M; Chris Miller, Jr., D; Eric Schmith, Fr., A.

Outlook: Villa Julie returns every starter from its inaugural NCAA Division III team that won three games despite having only 15 players. The Mustangs have added 11 freshmen, six junior-college transfers and a new coach. The Mustangs, who averaged 9.8 goals, again will be led by Nee (29, 11) Chris Beck (20, 10) and Bender, who had a team-leading 98 ground balls, 12 goals and 16 assists. Trey Shackelford, a senior from North Carroll, is back in goal; he was team MVP last season, averaging more than 18 saves.

Washington College

1995 record: 6-8

Coach: John Haus (2nd year, 6-8)

Key losses: Christian Boone, M; Jesse Cook, D.

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