Salisbury's Berkman not fazed by last weekend's break

Sea Gulls' second-round NCAA tournament game this Saturday will be team's first in two weeks

May 10, 2012|By Edward Lee

Prior to this season, Salisbury had wrapped up the regular season with a finale against local rival Washington just a week before its opening game in the NCAA tournament.

But this spring, the annual War on the Shore series was shifted to the weekend prior to the Capital Athletic Conference tournament, which wrapped up April 28. That means that the Sea Gulls (19-0) will have a two-week break before playing the winner of Goucher-Washington in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday.

How much did the respite benefit Salisbury?

“I think it’s a double-edged sword for a little bit,” coach Jim Berkman said. “We haven’t played in a couple weeks, and at this time of the year, you want to be playing games. But by the same token, that’s what we’ve had to do for the last eight or nine years when we’ve had this break. So we know how to deal with it. I think mentally, it’s been a good break. We took a couple days off on Saturday and Sunday of last week, had some kids heal up a little bit, and we put a couple new wrinkles in, which has kind of been good. I don’t think it’s going to hurt us or be a benefit.”

The Sea Gulls have enjoyed a first-round bye in each of their last 10 seasons, winning the national championship six times (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2011). That familiarity should be a positive for the players, Berkman said.

“I think it helps that you’ve been in those games before,” he said. “Anybody that’s played in the quarterfinals and semifinals and finals, it’s not the same as just another game as much as we try to make it so. There’s a lot at stake, there’s a lot of pressure. If you’ve been through that, it’s a benefit to the coaches, but more importantly, for the players that have been there before, I think there’s something to be said for that.”

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