Good or bad, emotions fuel Salisbury's Sam Bradman

Senior midfielder and 2012 Outstanding Player of the Year learning to control fiery, on-field outbursts

May 25, 2012|By Edward Lee

When Salisbury and SUNY-Cortland meet Sunday in an NCAA tournament Division III final at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., it’s arguable that anyone on the field will be as emotional as Sam Bradman.

The senior midfielder is always excited when he steps onto the field for a game, but in recent years, he has been able to tone it down and save his energy for scoring goals and making plays.

But Bradman is still vulnerable to letting his emotions get the best of him. In Sunday’s 7-2 victory over Stevenson in the semifinal round, Bradman was flagged for a one-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after scoring a goal to give the Sea Gulls a 3-0 lead with 6:59 left in the third quarter.

While pointing out that he was incited by a little rough play after the goal, Bradman conceded that he has to rise above the fray.

“That was a selfish play,” he said Wednesday. “There was a little cheap shot there, but I let my emotions get the best of me and I took a penalty for my team, which could have ended up leading a comeback if they would’ve scored on that man up. So I’ve just to learn from that. Cortland’s going to try to get me going, but I’ve just got to harness my emotions. I know they’re a potent offense, and I can’t be getting those unsportsmanlike conducts and giving them the opportunity to come back and score.”

Bradman’s value on the field – not in the penalty box – is critical for a Salisbury team seeing its 10th national championship because Bradman, who was named Division III’s Outstanding Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player in last May’s 19-7 thumping of Tufts in the NCAA title game, has the strength and speed to present a matchup problems for opponents.

That’s why coach Jim Berkman wants Bradman to remain composed.

“Believe me, we’ve talked about that more than one time, about playing the game and not getting all caught up in the hype and everything else that goes along with that because he doesn’t do very well when he does that,” Berkman said. “We’ll be addressing that again this week. ‘You don’t need any super-motivating thing to play the game. You’re a great player, and you need to play level-headed, and you need to control your emotions.’”

Bradman said his only motivation this weekend is ending his career with back-to-back national championships.

“That would be unreal,” he said. “I’ve seen the teams that have gone back-to-back-to-back in the past, and they’ve shown me all three of their rings. As a sophomore, I got to the national championship and then we won it last year. Going 2-1 would be unreal to me and sort of a dream come true.”

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