The final stand: Breaking down the CAC and NJAC playoff/title scenarios

By Chris Mackowiak

Sports Editor

@cmackowiakSGSN

Next week is the final round of regular season action for multiple teams at Salisbury University. There are plenty of confusing conference playoff scenarios to run through.

Each Salisbury team’s playoff chances are broken down below alongside the results to watch for during the upcoming week. Make sure to stay with https://thesuflyer.com/ for the latest recaps and previews headed into conference and NCAA playoff action.

No. 2 Field Hockey (13-1, 5-0; first in CAC)

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Salisbury celebrates a goal in their 2-1 OT win over CNU Wednesday night. Valeria Hirsch image

The Sea Gulls came into Saturday looking to lock up both the Capital Athletic Conference regular season title and home-field advantage in the conference playoffs. Salisbury did that through a 4-0 win over St. Mary’s College of Maryland (4-11, 2-4).

The closest team to Salisbury in the standings is the University of Mary Washington (11-4, 4-1) which the Sea Gulls defeated 6-1 on Homecoming back on Oct. 1. Despite the Eagles’ 8-0 win over Wesley on Saturday, the team cannot catch the Sea Gulls for the No. 1 conference spot due to Salisbury possessing the tiebreaker over Mary Washington.

While Salisbury will still travel to Wesley (5-14, 1-4) on Wednesday, Oct. 26, the game takes on less meaning for the Sea Gulls since even a loss will allow them to hold the No. 1 CAC seed in the postseason.

Salisbury still looks to contend for the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament after moving up to the No. 2 spot in the nation last week. The team at the No. 1 spot currently in the nation is Messiah College, the only team to defeat Salisbury this season.

After their game against Wesley on Wednesday, the Sea Gulls will get to rest until Wednesday, Nov. 2 when they host the CAC tournament semifinal. Their opponent with will the victor of the first round match-up between the fourth and fifth seed squads.

No. 19/22 Football (6-1, 4-1; tied first in NJAC)

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Salisbury opened the season with a win over Albright College on Sept. 2. Megan Findle image

The New Jersey Athletic Conference came into Saturday with five teams tied for first place with a 4-1 record. No. 21 Rowan, Christopher Newport, Frostburg State, and Wesley all were in action against each other on Saturday, while the No. 22 Sea Gulls welcomed Kean (3-3, 2-3) into Sea Gull Stadium.

After the contests concluded, Wesley took down Rowan on the road 24-17. Christopher Newport made the long journey west to Frostburg only to fall 17-6. Salisbury came out victorious over the Cougars with a 34-16 result.

With the results in the book, Wesley, Frostburg State, and Salisbury all move up to a 5-1 conference record in a tie for first place in the NJAC. Since Wesley took down Rowan, the Sea Gulls control their own destiny because they will not face Wesley or Frostburg State until the final two weekends of the regular season. Wesley holds the tiebreaker against Frostburg State after their 43-7 win over the Bobcats on Sept. 10.

The Sea Gulls must win out in their last three games (at CNU, vs. Wesley, at FSU) to take home their second straight NJAC title. Their next game is Saturday, Oct. 29 at Christopher Newport, who will be looking to play spoiler following their loss this week.

Men’s Soccer (6-8-1, 3-5; seventh place in CAC)

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Freshman midfielder Matthew Hawkins takes on a CNU defender in Salisbury’s 2-1 loss to the Captains last week. Valeria Hirsch image

A tough season continued Saturday for the Salisbury men’s soccer team. The Sea Gulls needed wins in their last two matches (at York, at Wesley) to lock up a CAC playoff spot. The team will need help from outside forces to make the playoffs at this point after a 3-1 loss at York (PA) with the Spartans scoring all three of their goals in the second half.

SU did get help from Marymount (4-10-2, 2-6) on Saturday when the Saints defeated Frostburg State (7-9-1, 3-4-1) 2-1 on the road. Frostburg St. is currently in sixth place with 10 points, and they are the only team keeping SU out of the playoffs.

Essentially, it will all come down to Tuesday and Wednesday to determine if the Sea Gulls make it into the CAC tournament. Salisbury with nine points is one behind Frostburg State, but the Sea Gulls do hold the tie breaker if the two teams end tied in points.

In their final match, Salisbury must win or draw with Wesley Tuesday afternoon. If the Sea Gulls win, then they must hope for Frostburg to either draw or lose when they travel to Southern Virginia (3-13, 1-7) on Wednesday. If Salisbury draws against Wesley, then Frostburg will need to lose to Southern Virginia for SU to make it into the CAC playoffs.

If Salisbury loses on the road Tuesday, then SU is out of playoff contention in the CAC.

Women’s Soccer (4-7-4, 3-4-1; sixth place in CAC)

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Senior defender Lindsey Andonian keeps a Southern Virginia player away from the ball in Salisbury’s 1-0 win earlier this season. Megan Findle image

Salisbury women’s soccer came into Saturday holding the fifth playoff spot. The large task is to end the regular season playing well enough to stave off sixth place York College (6-9-1, 4-4) and seventh place Penn State Harrisburg (6-11, 3-5).

For their final road contest of the season, the Sea Gulls travelled to York where Salisbury fell 1-0 in a defensive matchup. The win moves York up into sole possession of fifth place in the CAC with 12 points. The Sea Gulls are right behind the Spartans with 10 points headed into the final round of matches on Wednesday, Oct. 26.

Penn State Harrisburg fell to CNU at home 1-0 on Saturday which left the Lions in seventh place with 9 points in the standings. Earlier this season, the Lions defeated York 2-1 on the road, so they hold the tie breaker if the teams end tied in the standings.

Salisbury’s final regular season contest will be against Wesley (4-10-1, 0-8) on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at the SU Soccer Complex. The Sea Gulls clinch a playoff spot with a win against the Wolverines. A loss or draw for Salisbury keeps hope alive for Penn State Harrisburg to jump the Sea Gulls and knock them out of CAC playoff contention.

Penn State Harrisburg ends their season with an away match against Mary Washington (9-5-2, 5-2-1) on Tuesday, Oct. 25. If PSU-H wins and the Sea Gulls lose or draw, then the Lions advance over Salisbury. If both teams draw in their respective matches, then Salisbury moves on. Finally, Salisbury also advances if they lose and PSU-H draws because the Sea Gulls own the tie breaker over the Lions.

Women’s Volleyball (18-6, 5-1; second in CAC)

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Salisbury smiles for the cameras after winning the Sea Gull Classic tournament earlier this season. Chris Mackowiak image

The Salisbury women’s volleyball team entered the weekend in second place behind Mary Washington in the CAC standings. While Salisbury traveled to Chestertown, Md. to face Washington College and Franklin & Marshall in non-conference action, there was still shuffling in the CAC standings with other teams in action.

On Saturday, the Sea Gulls finished 1-1 in Chestertown with a 3-0 win over Franklin & Marshall and then a 3-2 loss to Washington College. Salisbury now heads into its final three matches of the season which are all CAC-play and all at home in Maggs Physical Activities Center.

Wesley (11-14, 0-6), Frostburg State (11-16, 1-5), and Southern Virginia (6-13, 2-4) will all travel to Salisbury next week. All three teams are below Salisbury in the CAC standings. Ideally, barring any upsets, the Sea Gulls should go undefeated over the stretch. The team takes the court next on Tuesday, Oct. 25 against Wesley.

Salisbury is currently aligned to place second or third in the conference and host either a CAC first round match on Nov. 1 or a semifinal match on Nov. 3 depending on their seed. The Sea Gulls do hold the tie breaker against Marymount (19-6, 5-1) after winning 3-0 on Oct. 14. After Saturday’s results, Marymount is tied with the Sea Gulls for second in the CAC.

Mary Washington (25-2, 7-0) is ahead of Salisbury in the standings and holds the tie breaker with the Sea Gulls after defeating SU 3-0 earlier this season. The Eagles will only lose the No. 1 conference seed if they lose each of their final two matches.

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