Even without Berkman, Salisbury rolls along

Top-ranked Sea Gulls improved to 8-0 without NCAA's all-time winningest coach

March 16, 2012|By Edward Lee

If top-ranked Salisbury was supposed to stumble without head coach Jim Berkman, someone forgot to tell the players.

The nine-time reigning national champion Sea Gulls improved to 8-0 with Wednesday’s 13-3 rout of Washington & Lee. Defensive coordinator Ben Sandlin, who served as interim coach, said the players looked unaffected by the absence of Berkman, who experienced heart troubles while working out this past Sunday.

“We just tried to keep everything as normal as possible as far as the pregame and who does what and who goes where,” Sandlin said Thursday. “Looking back on it after the game, there were times offensively when we couldn’t move the ball. But after the game, I was sitting there and thinking about what these guys went through this week, and I thought they fared very well given the situation and the adversity. Defensively, we played absolutely wonderful. Our goalie Alex Taylor had a great game with 14 saves, and he was a stonewall up until about 11 minutes left when their long-stick got a goal on us. So we were very pleased as coaches with how things turned out.”

Sandlin did concede that it was strange to stand on the sideline without Berkman, who has been a fixture at the school since 1989.

“It was definitely different, and we addressed that during the bus ride over to the field,” Sandlin said. “We told them, ‘We know that Coach isn’t going to be here today, but we know that he is going to be watching the game online. We know what’s expected of us.’ So it was definitely a little different. Maybe a little eerie because it was sometimes a little quieter on the sideline. But the guys were able to adjust to it and pick their game up.”

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