Coach provides lift as Sea Gulls rally

Salisbury 8 Washington College 4


SALISBURY -- An hour before Salisbury's NCAA Division III men's lacrosse quarterfinal game against Eastern Shore rival and ninth-ranked Washington College yesterday, there was one thing missing for the top-ranked Sea Gulls: their coach.

Salisbury coach Jim Berkman had to be rushed from Peninsula Regional Medical Center to Sea Gull Stadium in time for the game. Berkman, who recently had knee surgery, has been dealing with a staph infection for the past few days.

Berkman watched the first half from the Salisbury sideline. The view wasn't pretty, as the Sea Gulls played one of their worst quarters of the season, with dropped passes and failed clears becoming routine.

But Salisbury (19-0) broke open a 3-3 first half by scoring five straight goals for an 8-4 come-from-behind victory before 1,086. Salisbury increased the nation's longest winning streak to 68 games.

"We were just glad that he got out of the hospital long enough to come to the game," said Berkman's son, Kylor, a freshman midfielder.

The three-time defending champions advance to the semifinals, where they will host No. 3 Roanoke for the second year in a row. Salisbury won last year's game, 13-11, and defeated the Maroons, 16-12, on the road March 4. The Maroons (15-2) defeated No. 2 Gettysburg, 13-12, yesterday.

The semifinal game is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. but is awaiting confirmation from the two schools, with the official announcement coming today.

Washington College (14-5) took advantage of Salisbury's first-half mistakes and took a 2-0 lead early in the second quarter.

The Sea Gulls got their first goal at 7:46 of the second quarter, after 13 turnovers, on an Eric Bishop goal assisted by Ryan Rohde. The teams went into halftime tied at 3.

It took the Sea Gulls almost 34 minutes to take their first lead at 4-3 on a Rohde goal assisted by Berkman (two goals, two assists). Salisbury added four more goals, three from senior Dan Boyer (Mount St. Joseph), before by Chris Read (Boys' Latin) scored Washington College's final goal with 8:32 left. The Shoremen went almost 29 minutes between goals.

"That's pretty typical of our season, quite frankly," Washington coach J.B. Clarke said. "We couldn't find the back of the net on offense."

Salisbury grabbed its first-ever lead, 20-19, in the 32-year-old series, as the Sea Gulls have won the past six meetings.

"It has come a long way," Berkman said of the series. "It is a great series and always a battle."

Washington College 1 2 0 1 - 4

Salisbury 0 3 4 1 - 8

Goals: WC-Read 2, Lane, Sutter; S-Boyer 3, Berkman 2, Bishop, Rohde, Hurley. Assists: WC-Read 2, Kielek; S-Berkman 2, Bishop, Creighton, Rohde. Saves: WC-Thibadeau 15; S-Zarchin 6.

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