BY RICKY POLLITT
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.
“We’re definitely excited about where we’re at right now,” men’s head coach Jim Berkman said. “We’re better than we were four weeks ago, and we’ll just continue to improve.”
The women would face the fifth seeded Mary Washington Eagles; a team they had defeated 16-3 earlier in the season. After dealing with a share of injuries all season, Salisbury got back two key players; defender Laura Maskell and midfielder Bethany Baer.
Baer impressed many in her first game back on offense, scoring the game’s first three goals, along with scooping up two ground balls and causing three turnovers.
“I was just excited to get out here and do whatever I needed to help the team win,” Baer said. “It was hard for me to get back into things, and get back into the flow of the offense, but I think it’s going good so far and hopefully just keeps getting better.”
Maskell also contributed in her first game back in six weeks. The senior led the team in ground balls with five and also forced two turnovers. The defense was able to hold the Eagles to four goals on the day.
“I’ve been practicing all week working very hard,” Maskell said. “I came out today and played as hard as I could.”
Despite the offense’s struggles, the Gulls were able to score when they needed to and capture a 6-2 victory. Attacks Megan Wallenhorst and Katelin Talbert, along with midfielder Gabbi Nieves were also able to put goals on the board for Salisbury.
Holding on to the number one seed in the conference, Salisbury will now face second seeded York in the championship game. The Sea Gulls defeated the Spartans earlier in the season 10-7 at Sea Gull Stadium.
“We obviously want to win, but this week at practice is going to have to be hard,” Baer said. “We learned from this game, and we just have to be hard on one another.”
After watching the women punch their ticket to the finals, the men knew they had an opportunity to send both lacrosse teams to the CAC championship game for a thirteenth straight season.
The men’s offense and defense came out of the gates on fire, scoring nine goals in the first half, while holding York to just two.
Attacks Nathan Blondino and Mike Kane accounted for 10 goals combined, while the Sea Gulls cruised to 16-4 victory.
“We work so hard in practice, so transitioning from practice to a game has really helped us out,” Blondino said.
Salisbury’s defense continues to be a brick wall as the unit only allowed four goals on 17 shots. The Gulls also caused 20 turnovers and scooped up 33 ground balls.
“Our coaches give us great scouting reports. Learning tendencies and formations and what they like to do are all based on the reports,” senior defender Knute Kraus said. “You implement that on Saturdays and good things happen.”
The men’s team will also host next weekend when they take on second seeded Frostburg State. Salisbury defeated the Bobcats earlier this season in overtime.
“It’s nice to play at home. We’ve got our fans out here, we love playing here, and it’s just another game on our home turf so we’re excited,” Kraus said.