After loss to Stevenson, Salisbury turning attention to Capital Athletic Conference

No. 6 Sea Gulls looking to capture 18th conference title to earn automatic qualifier to NCAA tournament

April 05, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

Reigning national champion Salisbury has captured 17 league titles in the 20-year history of the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC), but this season’s campaign may be the most critical to the program.

Wednesday night’s 10-8 loss to No. 3 Stevenson dropped the No. 6 Sea Gulls to 10-3 and may have endangered the team’s bid for an at-large berth in the South Region of the NCAA tournament. Coach Jim Berkman also pointed out another side effect of the setback.

“We might have lost the opportunity to host some playoff games,” he said. “We’ve got to take care of the conference now. That’s going to be really important as far as getting to the NCAA tournament. All of our attention is on Mary Washington. That’s a team that is having a great season and got ranked after Saturday.”

The Eagles, who will visit Sea Gull Stadium this Saturday, are 7-2 overall and 1-0 in the CAC, and they moved to No. 17 in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll. Mary Washington also has had a full week to prepare for Salisbury.

“Obviously, they’re going to be well rested,” Berkman said. “But I think our guys know that they could’ve won that game [Wednesday] and they let themselves down a little bit. They had an opportunity to win the game. They believe they can beat anybody on any given day. I think that’s what our guys feel now. We’ve got to play well, we can’t make mistakes. If we play well like we did last night and we don’t make mistakes and we execute our offense, we like our chances against anybody on any given day.”

There is some concern that the players won’t be at full strength against the Eagles, but Berkman said the Sea Gulls – who are 3-0 in the CAC – will be happy that they won’t have to wait very long to wipe away the memory of the loss to Stevenson.

“Sometimes that’s the best remedy for a loss,” he said of the quick turnaround. “You can’t sit around and talk about it. I told them [Wednesday] night that we can’t sit around and talk about what happened. We’ve got to take what we learned, and we’re going to be back in the fire. We can’t have a hiccup thinking about Stevenson on Saturday and forget about our preparation for Mary Washington. We’ve got to focus and take care of Mary Washington, and I think I got that message across [Wednesday] night.”

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