Dan Boyer can sense it every time he and the Salisbury lacrosse team takes the field with the longest winning streak in college sports on the line.
"There's definitely a lot of teams out there that would love to see us lose," said the senior attackman from Mount St. Joseph whose 66 goals and seven assists lead the Sea Gulls (20-0, 69 in a row). "A lot of teams just every week, or even people, just look at the score and hope that we lose. These are just people who follow lacrosse. Everybody loves to see the underdog come through and beat the champion."
That anti-Salisbury crowd will be out Sunday at 2.30 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, when the No. 1 Sea Gulls take their winning streak into the NCAA Division III championship game against Cortland State.
Boyer has played through the entire streak and his team has a 79-1 record during his four-year career. Boyer's only loss in college was April 10, 2003, at Salisbury, when the No.1-ranked Sea Gulls (then 10-0) were shocked by Lynchburg, 13-12.
Salisbury would go on to win the first of three straight Division III national titles that season, and now it is one win away from a fourth consecutive championship.
So how do Boyer and his teammates deal with the pressure of winning?
"We don't really think about it that much," Boyer said. "We just kind of try to go game-by-game. We know every game is going to be a battle, so we just kind of go with that and concentrate on winning every game. We prepare for each and every game like it's our biggest game of the year."
Tiesi's career ends
Even usually stern Shippensburg softball coach Bob Brookens had tears in his eyes last week when Kelley Tiesi (Catholic High) was beaten, 1-0, on a no-hitter by Lock Haven's Kristin Erb in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II Mid-Atlantic Region championship.
The setback to the eventual national champion Lock Haven ended Tiesi's stellar collegiate pitching career. Tiesi (99-19) finished fifth all-time in NCAA Division II with 1,095 strikeouts, seventh all-time with a 0.62ERA, fourth all-time in strikeout ratio with 9.9 a game, and was tied for fourth all-time with 11 saves.
As Brookens left for a recruiting trip Monday, he said he was going to find "another Kelley Tiesi."
Also contributing this season were senior shortstop Kristen Marll (Archbishop Spalding) and freshman catcher-third baseman Rachelle Wedell (Northeast).
Marll hit .297 and was 9-for-9 on stolen bases, and Wedell batted .302 and had 27 RBIs.
Contact Bill Free by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 410-833-5349.