By Chris Mackowiak
Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Championship weekend came and went leaving one Salisbury team cheering and others yearning for more. While the football regular season continues for one more week, they hit a bump in the road. Of the four other fall sports, only one moves on to compete for an NCAA National Championship.
Below each of the remaining two team scenarios are broken down.
No. 2 Field Hockey (16-1, 6-0; CAC Champions)
On Saturday night, the Sea Gulls claimed their fourth consecutive conference championship with a commanding 8-0 victory over Mary Washington under the lights of Sea Gull Stadium. The conference championship provideed an automatic NCAA Tournament berth.
The NCAA announced the bracket last night with SU set to host a regional to be played Saturday and Sunday. Salisbury received a bye through to the second round of the tournament as they await the winner of the first round match-up between Kenyon College (14-6) and Elizabethtown College (14-4). The first round match will be played Wednesday in Elizabethtown, Pa.
Kenyon enters the tournament as North Coast Athletic Conference Champions, defeating DePauw University 2-1 in overtime. Elizabethtown comes in as the Landmark Conference Champions after a 1-0 victory over Susquehanna University. The winner will face Salisbury Saturday at 11am.
No. 6 Ursinus (16-4) is on the opposite side of the region’s bracket, also receiving a bye into the second round to be played in Sea Gull Stadium. Ursinus won the Centennial Conference Championship with a 2-1 overtime win over No. 7 Franklin & Marshall. They await the winner of the first round match-up between Cabrini College (12-7) and No. 10 Trinity College (CT) (12-4) which will be played in Hartford, CT.
The winners of these two second round match-ups will face off in the regional championship in Sea Gull Stadium Sunday at 1pm.
The Sea Gulls are highly favored to be National Championship contenders in the tournament. Salisbury’s only loss of the season was at No. 1 overall seed Messiah College 3-2.
Football (7-2, 6-2; third in NJAC)
It was heartbreak Saturday afternoon at Sea Gull Stadium as SU fell 44-27 to Wesley in a battle of first place New Jersey Athletic Conference teams. Salisbury needed a win in that game to stay alive in the NJAC title discussions. Now with only one loss in the conference, Wesley controls their own destiny and with a win against William Patterson this week will lock up the NJAC title.
Salisbury is now out of the title discussions but can still play spoiler as they go on the road to play in the annual Regents Cup against Frostburg State. Frostburg State is currently tied with Wesley for first place in the conference. Because Wesley holds the tiebreaker over Frostburg State, FSU needs to defeat SU and have Wesley lose in order to claim the NJAC title.
At this point, Salisbury is still in play for an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. While they would most likely not get a home game at this point, it would still be a successful placement in the postseason. At play also is a chance for a bowl game in the Eastern College Athletic Conference’s (ECAC) postseason bowl series.
See season recaps of both women’s and men’s soccer below along with a recap of SU volleyball’s thrilling defeat to Christopher Newport in the CAC Tournament last week.