Saturday didn’t begin well for No. 19 Washington, which absorbed a disheartening 17-5 loss to top-ranked Salisbury. But the day improved when the Shoremen learned that they had a chance to gain the top seed and homefield advantage in the Centennial Conference Tournament.
That opportunity came about after McDaniel tagged league-leading Gettysburg with a 12-10 decision. The Bullets fell to 10-4 overall and 6-1 in the conference and tie for first place with Washington (9-4, 6-1).
“A bit shocked, to be honest with you,” coach Jeff Shirk said of his staff’s reaction when they learned about Gettysburg’s setback after returning to Chestertown late Saturday. “I think we all just assumed that not that McDaniel couldn’t beat Gettysburg, but that it was pretty much a done deal and that any way you looked at, the odds were not in our favor or even in the realm of possibility of us being able to host [the Centennial Tournament]. So we’re excited.”
If the No. 18 Bullets lose to No. 13 Dickinson (11-3, 5-2) and the Shoremen beat Ursinus (6-8, 2-5) Saturday, Washington will leapfrog Gettysburg to claim the top seed and homefield advantage. A loss and both rewards will go to the Bullets.
Those implications should make Saturday’s road game at the Bears even more important, according to Shirk.
“I think it does [add some more spice], and I think that’s a good thing because Ursinus is not a team that can be taken lightly,” Shirk said. “They’re very good. They’re just young. I talked to [Bears coach] Jamie Steele the other day and they very much are having the season this year that we had last year to where they’re not a bad team. Their record doesn’t reflect how good they are. And it’s their Senior Day, the last game for all their seniors. So I know they’re going to be excited, and it’s one of those things where we need to be focused and ready to play. So this game is not just the season finale. This could mean something for tournament play. So I think it’s a very good thing that could help us.”