Salisbury lacrosse teams advance to CAC Championship game

BY RICKY POLLITT

Staff Writer

@rickypollitt52

The Salisbury men’s and women’s lacrosse teams both were able to win in the semi-final round of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament on Saturday; sending them to the championship game.

In a tale of two teams, the women’s team (13-3, 8-0 CAC) struggled to secure the win against Mary Washington, while the men (14-4, 8-0 CAC) blew out York College for a second straight game.

[Read more…]

Men’s tennis ends season with CAC loss to Christopher Newport

RICKY POLLITT
Staff Writer
@rickypollitt52

The Salisbury University men’s tennis team saw its season come to an end with a 5-4 defeat at the hands of rival Christopher Newport on Tuesday.

Eric Spangler prepares to return a serve from CNU.

Junior men’s tennis player Eric Spangler prepares to return a serve from CNU on Tuesday. (Photo: Ricky Pollitt)

It was a semifinal matchup in the Capital Athletic Conference playoffs and – for CNU – the victory sends them to the CAC Championship match.

For the second game in a row, the Sea Gulls (16-5, 6-2 CAC) would have to face a Captains’ team (13-10, 6-2) that barely lost in the regular season finale. The Sea Gulls edged them by a score a 5-4, but seeing Salisbury on their court before a playoff match gave CNU some experience that they used to their advantage.

“Seeing us just a few days ago definitely worked to their advantage,” Sea Gulls’ junior Eric Spangler said. “They had never played on these courts before and we know the ins and outs, but they definitely seemed more ready to play this time.”

Spangler was the only Sea Gull that won both his matches Tuesday. The Captains got up early on Salisbury winning 2-1 in doubles before notching three single match victories to give them the overall win.

“It’s a tough result, but I’m extremely proud of the guys and how we fought and how we played,” Sea Gulls’ head coach Randy Halfpap said. “It was by far one of the most exciting college matches I’ve been a part of.”

After losing the doubles portion of the meeting, Salisbury knew they would have to play tough to win at least four matches in singles competition.

Senior Demetri Vrahnos and junior Shanon Gunther were the only other Sea Gulls, besides Spangler, to get victories one-on-one.

After eight matches had been played, the score was tied at four with all eyes on freshman Sean Ngo.

It was déjà vu for the Sea Gulls, for it was the second game in a row the match would rely on the freshman to capture a win away from CNU.

“It’s amazing how five days ago we had the same type of match, same score, but unfortunately a different result,” Halfpap said.

Freshman men's tennis player Sean Ngo battles with CNU on Tuesday. (Photo: Ricky Pollitt)

Freshman men’s tennis player Sean Ngo battles with CNU on Tuesday. (Photo: Ricky Pollitt)

Ngo had defeated his opponent the game before and sent the Sea Gulls to the CAC tournament with the number two seed. This game however, would be different.

CNU’s Arttu Fiva won the first set, 6-3, before Ngo came back to capture a 7-5 win in the second set – which forced a third.

Ngo had struggled early on in this match, but managed to come back and give Salisbury one last shot at victory. The freshman took a 4-2 lead in the final set, but Fiva was able to break serve twice and wound up winning the final set, and the match, 6-4.

“I thought I played pretty well the last two sets, but it didn’t work out, and now we’ve got to get ready for next season,” Ngo said.

The loss not only ends the Sea Gulls’ season, but it also snaps a five game winning streak Salisbury had coming into the game.

Salisbury now has to deal with the losses of seniors Vrahnos, Daniel Albers, and Adam Goldberger. All three played in Tuesday’s competition.

“In the blink of an eye a match is over and the last match for three college guys,” Halfpap said. “They’ve got to look back on four years of playing and see how they had great careers.”

The men’s team will now throw its support to the women who will also play CNU in the semifinals matchup on Wednesday, but Halfpap and the rest of the team have already started preparing for next season.

“Our record was really good this season, and we did what we needed to do,” Spangler said. “We need to see what we did well, have a positive attitude and we’ll be fine.”

After a flurry of injuries, Wallenhorst stepped up and has led the Sea Gulls

flyer_women's lax

SU Athletics Photo Wallenhorst has stepped in for injured teammates this season and has become one of the integral parts of the Sea Gulls’ offense

BY RICKY POLLITT

Staff Writer

@rickypollitt52

Salisbury University’s women’s lacrosse team has seen its share of injuries this season.

In their first game against Stevenson, senior attack Shelbey Nemecek went down for the year with a torn ACL. Only one game after, the Division III women’s lacrosse pre-season play of the year – Bethany Baer – was sidelined with a wrist injury, putting her out the remainder of the regular season.

With two big injuries to start the year, the Sea Gulls were also still trying to make up for the losses of graduated players. Some were left wondering who would step up for the three-time national champions.

Megan Wallenhorst stepped up.

Wallenhorst – a native of Ellicott City, Maryland – transferred to SU last season after playing her freshman season at Division I Winthrop University. In her first year with the Sea Gulls she was named to the Capital Athletic Conference All-Academic Team and earned a Player of the Week award.

She was also productive – registering 21 goals, 13 assists and 34 points last season – but she didn’t expect to have such a big role this season. Due to injuries and graduations, her number was called.

“I’ve definitely had to step up a bit and take more control on the offense,” Wallenhorst said. “I can’t really do it though without my teammates.”

Wallenhorst also made her presence known on defense by scooping up six ground balls last season, but it was her .805 shots-on-goal percentage that had Sea Gulls’ head coach Jim Nestor thinking that the junior attack was poised for a big year.

“I think she’s always had the capability,” Nestor said. “With certain players out, she’s showing that her play can step up in big games.”

Wallenhorst has definitely shined while being in the spotlight recent weeks. With several members from last year’s NCAA championship squad gone or injured, she leads the Sea Gulls in goals and points with 32 and 51, respectively.

A big factor to Wallenhorst’s success has been the chemistry she has developed with teammates Kara O’Rourke and Hannah Young. Leading the team in assists with 43, O’Rourke has helped Wallenhorst find those open lanes that put her team in a position to score.

“Most of the goals I have are assisted, so it proves I can’t really do it without my teammates,” Wallenhorst said. “(They’re) looking for me on those cuts, and everyone having their nets ups really makes it a team effort.”

Along with the impact Wallenhorst has brought, the Sea Gulls’ offense continues to impress – averaging 12.96 goals a game and tallying an 81.4 shot on goal percentage.

With Wallenhorst leading the way, the Sea Gulls clinched the top seed in the CAC this season for a 12th straight year with a victory over St. Mary’s on April 10.

“Offensively we’ve been getting good looks all season and our players have been able to capitalize,” Nestor said. “(Wallenhorst) has really stepped up and she’s playing smart and finishing her opportunities.”

While Wallenhorst continues to lead her team on offense, she is racking up some career records too.

Against Mary Washington, the junior had a career day where she scored six goals, and later followed that performance up with nine points against St. Mary’s.

“The whole offense just works really well together. We’re learning how to play with each other,” Wallenhorst said. “The past few weeks we really wanted to prove that we were a top team, and that we’re not a fluke.

“We deserve to be here.”

Wallenhorst has also helped in the development of some of the younger players on Salisbury’s roster.

“We’ve taken charge of getting some of the younger girls worked in some more, so they can have more of an impact,” she said.

The Sea Gulls’ freshmen have combined to score 42 goals out of the team’s 190 total. Freshman attack Dana King is seventh on the team in scoring with 10 goals.

With the regular season over, the Sea Gulls have now begun to prepare for the CAC and NCAA tournaments – familiar territory for them.

As some of the injured Sea Gull players start to make their way back, Wallenhorst continues to prepare to help bring home the program’s third-straight national title.

“I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing,” Wallenhorst said. “Being a leader on offense, but my primary goal is getting my team back to the National Championship.”

Gulls dominate in final home game victory

NICK DIMATTEO
Staff Writer
@Nick_DiMatteo93

The No. 10 Salisbury University men’s lacrosse team played its final regular season home game Wednesday night in a CAC matchup against York College of Pennsylvania. The Gulls took a 19-6 victory at Sea Gull Stadium clinching the No.1 seed in the CAC tournament.

“It was definitely a great answer,” Salisbury head coach Jim Berkman said. “It’s kind of a midweek game, one of those games where you don’t know what you’re really going to get. We came right out of the gate and played extremely well.”

Sophomore Carson Kalama scored the first three goals of the game for the Sea Gulls, all within the first five minutes of play, starting a dominating first half for the Sea Gulls.

“Ternahan kept coming down on the point and he had two assists for me today, which is huge,” Kalama said. “It’s nothing really what I’m doing, it is people finding me and putting the shots away.”

Sea Gulls’ baseball tops Wesley with a walk-off in CAC tourney

JAMIR WILSON
Staff Writer
@JaMir_Wilson

Salisbury University’s baseball team showed resiliency and the will to win in an eleven-inning victory over rival Wesley College on Wednesday in the first round of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament.

The Sea Gulls trailed the Wolverines the entire game until the bottom of the ninth inning and finally tied the score then to push it extra innings. But it would take two more innings for the Sea Gulls to capture the win.

It happened in walk-off fashion in the 11th inning when Alex Lipman stepped to the plate with two runners on base and two outs. He played the role of the hero by hitting a pitch in the left infield gap which scored Kyle Hayman and notched a 5-4 victory for the Sea Gulls over the Wolverines. The win punched the no. 4 Sea Gulls’ ticket to the next round where they will face no. 25 University of Mary Washington at Frostburg University on Thursday.

Salisbury WLAX ends winning streak with loss to TCNJ

BY RICKY POLLITT
Staff Writer
@rickypollitt52

Salisbury’s women’s lacrosse team lost its first game in over a month to TCNJ 10-3 on Sunday afternoon. It was the first home loss for the Sea Gulls since 2011.

Before the game, Salisbury honored their eight seniors for their dedication over the past four seasons, but it was the Lions that controlled the game and walked out of Sea Gull Stadium victorious.

“I think we felt a lot of pressure because we wanted to win for the seniors,” freshman goalie Gianna Falcone said. “We definitely didn’t play how we should have been, and it just didn’t go our way.”

Softball splits doubleheader

DIAMOND HOLTON
Staff Writer
@_pensandwords_

The No. 6 Salisbury University softball team split doubleheader games against Frostburg State University at the SU Softball Field on Sunday afternoon on Senior Day.

Before the game, Salisbury honored three of its seniors who will close out their career this season: Rachel Johnson, Rebecca Hoey and Angela Malgieri.

The Sea Gulls (23-4, 11-3 CAC) took game one winning 8-0 in six innings. Senior Rachel Johnson pitched a complete game with 10 strikeouts and only allowing five hits.

Softball Blows out Southern Virginia

DIAMOND HOLTON
Staff Writer
@_pensandwords_

The Salisbury University softball team won two blowouts in a doubleheader against Southern Virginia at the SU Softball Field on Saturday.

The Sea Gulls (22-3, 10-2 CAC) took over, not allowing the Knights a single run throughout. The Knights (0-23, 0-14 CAC) had three hits combined, all in the second game.

In game one, senior pitcher Rachel Johnson pitched her seventh career perfect game, with 11 strikeouts. Johnson was among the 16 former and current student athletes selected to the Capital Athletic Conference Silver Anniversary Softball Team.

“From the get-go, knowing I have a couple more games on this field, so I’m just trying to put it all out there,” she said. “And it was really nice seeing some of the players that I used to play with as well and people before us.”

Women’s lacrosse gets top CAC seed with win vs St. Mary’s

By Ricky Pollitt

Contributor

Megan Wallenhorst had another career day where she recorded nine total points. The junior attacker registered four goals, five assists and has stepped up in recent weeks with Salisbury missing seniors Bethany Baer, Shelby Nemecek and Kate Haker due to injury.

“We had our offense click again, and we did a good job taking care of the ball,” Wallenhorst said. “We knew if we won this one tonight we’d be hosting in the CAC, so we’re really excited for that.”

Wallenhorst now leads Salisbury in goals with 30 on the year. Nestor obviously preferred an injury free season, but knew Wallenhorst always had the capability to step up when needed.

“She’s shown with players out that her play can step up. She’s doing a great job, and hopefully she’ll continue to do so,” Nestor said.

The Gulls had five other players put goals on the board against the Hawks including attacks Katelin Talbert (2), Hannah Young (2), Kristen Murphy (2), Dana King (2), and midfielder Gabbi Nieves (1).

The Sea Gulls defense also rose to the occasion in a game they needed to most. Salisbury forced 18 turnovers, scooped up 13 ground balls, and only allowed 12 shots to be taken by St. Mary’s offense.

For a victory, the Sea Gulls had to shut down one of the CAC’s most successful players in Tori Poffenberger who came into the game with 44 goals on the season – the most in the conference. She registered just one goal against the Sea Gulls.

“They definitely have some kids who can put the ball away,” Nestor said. “I thought we did a nice job containing some of their high-powered players.”

The defense has been on point the last few weeks allowing only 5.54 goals per game, while freshman goalie Gianna Falcone has recorded 59 saves with a .590 save percentage.

“We’ve been learning a lot about the other teams and learning how they play,” Falcone said. “If we play together as a whole and not as individuals we do a lot better.”

Salisbury now will prepare for the final stretch of the regular season. The Sea Gulls will face TCNJ and Marymount to close out the year.

Regardless of the outcome of the two games, the Sea Gulls will host at least one matchup once the CAC tournament rolls around.

“We’ll just be watching film and learning as much as we can about our opponent,” Wallenhorst said. “If we just keep playing the way we have these past few games, I don’t think there’s any reason we can’t come out on top.”

Men’s lacrosse gets back at CNU

NICK DIMATTEO
Staff Writer
@Nick_Dimatteo93

The no. 11 Salisbury University men’s lacrosse team avenged last season’s overtime loss to Christopher Newport University, taking a dominant 16-3 CAC conference victory over the Captains on Wednesday night at Sea Gull Stadium.

“We have been waiting 365 days for this,” junior defensive midfielder Preston Dabbs said. “We’ve been waiting a year for it so the defense had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder.”

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