BY DIAMOND HOLTON
As the fall sports season comes to a close, it’s obvious the past three months have been a successful time for Salisbury sports teams.
They have made it to the playoffs playing in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament or the New Jersey Athletic Conference (football).
Under the direction of Sherman Wood, the football team’s season may go down as one to remember starting off with a record breaking first home game of the season, trumping Southern Virginia 91-7. They set records for most points (91), most touchdowns (13) and largest margin of victory (84).
In another home game, played against William Paterson University, Salisbury broke a program single-game rushing record with 651 rushing yards. Three games later, Salisbury took on Wesley College who was undefeated until the Sea Gulls got a piece of the Wolverines giving them their first loss of the season and their first loss to the Gulls in 11 seasons.
The Gulls then went on to face Frostburg State University in the annual Regents Cup, where they completed a 20-point fourth quarter comeback to win the Regents Cup and become NJAC Champions putting their bid in the NCAA Tournament.
“We had to check ourselves at halftime,” quarterback Ryan Jones said. “We were doing things that were hurting ourselves. We came out in the second half and played our game like we have been all season and things went our way.”
For the field hockey team, success is something that comes natural. Ending the season with a 14-4 record and 22 straight winning seasons, the squad earned its nineteenth conference championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
“We’re always working hard,” field hockey head coach Dawn Chamberlin said. “We’re willing to put in the extra work to achieve our goal.”
Winning the CAC gave them a first round bye in the NCAA tournament, but their record compared to others didn’t allow any home-field advantage. They played in the second round of the tournament losing 3-2 to Rochester off a last second goal before the end of regulation.
In the offseason, Chamberlin and her coaching staff will have to work hard to replace five seniors who played heavy roles in the success of the team in the last four years, including Amanda Cooper, Sam Johnson, Courtney Jantzen, Breck Sullivan and Jessica Crew.
Volleyball’s hopes fell short in the CAC Championship losing 3-0 to Christopher Newport University. They ended the season 24-8 with a 10 game winning streak going into the CAC Tournament.
Junior outside hitter Katie Stouffer earned her third-straight All-CAC first-team selection in as many seasons in maroon and gold. She finished the year with a team-high 538 kills, which ranked second in the conference. Head Coach Justin Turco knew his team was prepared for every match throughout the season. He said his team plays only one way and that’s aggressive.
“Giving up is not in our vocabulary. It’s all about sticking together as a team,” Stouffer said. “We say stick together and we have that team stick and we’re so close as a family, so there’s no option of giving up. We won’t let each other give up. If someone is down, we pick them right back up.”
It was a rough ending for women’s soccer team as they made the playoffs under the helm of Kwame Lloyd. Of the 10 ten home games the Gulls played in, seven were victories finishing off the season 12-4-2. Due to some absent key players throughout the season, some of the underclassmen had to step up and play multiple roles. The team worked hard to get to the CAC Tournament, however fell short in the first round to Mary Washington. After double-overtime, the season came down to penalty kicks where Salisbury was outscored 3-2.
Lloyd wasn’t disappointed in his team throughout the season, and felt their strengths were utilized well.
“When you’re hitting the post and you’re doing different things it doesn’t work out for you,” Lloyd said. “There wasn’t lack of effort or lack of execution. It was just things didn’t go our way and it’s tough. Only one team in the country finishes not disappointed.”
It was a different year for the men’s soccer team, who received news their head coach Gerry DiBartolo would be retiring from coaching after 2015. His 34 years of success at Salisbury made him one of the most successful coaches in DIII.
The Sea Gulls went on to win the CAC Championship while winning eight games at home. They started off winning the Elmer Lord Soccer Classic and went on a win streak in October and didn’t let up taking the CAC regular season title.
In the CAC Tournament, they outscored their opponents 4-0 making it known that they were a force to be reckoned with earning their eighth CAC championship. In the NCAA Tournament, they drew up Tufts University, falling 2-1 in the first round.
“Everyone deserves recognition, our coaches, the players, everyone,” senior goalkeeper Drew Staedeli said. “They did everything they possibly could to make this year a success. It has been a very special year and I’m glad I could be a part of it.”
As the winter and spring sports prepare to start their seasons, Salisbury fans hope they will see the same success they saw in the fall of 2015.