WLAX: Salisbury looks to pave road to consistency in War at the Shore Saturday

By CHRIS MACKOWIAK

Sports Editor

@cmackowiakSGSN

What: No.11 Salisbury women’s lacrosse (3-2, 1-0 CAC) hosts Washington College (2-1)

Where: Sea Gull Stadium

When: Saturday at 1 p.m.

How to Watch: Sea Gull Sports Network

While the men’s lacrosse teams face off in Chestertown, Md. for the War at the Shore, the Salisbury women’s lacrosse team and Washington College write their own battle in the war in Salisbury, Md. Both teams come off shaky starts to their seasons and look to find consistency on both sides of the ball Saturday.

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The No.11 Salisbury women’s lacrosse team looks to stay above .500 after the matchup with Washington College Saturday at Sea Gull Stadium. Chris Mackowiak photo

Salisbury (3-2, 1-0 CAC)

After losing two of their first four, Salisbury recorded a confident 16-6 road win at Rowan Wednesday afternoon. Entering Saturday, the Sea Gulls look to find a way to their first consecutive wins this season. After starting the 2016 season 5-0, Salisbury has more questions than answers as they enter the meat of their schedule in 2017.

Offense: A positive for Salisbury is that the team is producing at a similar clip as 2016, despite facing two key losses to the attack. Inflating their goals per game up to 12.20 are three games of 16 goals. Other than that, the team sports eight and six goals respectively in their two losses at Catholic and at Washington & Lee.

Junior attacker Dana King, senior middie Gabbi Nieves and sophomore attacker Lindsey Wagner have led the way offensively to account for 55.7 percent of the team’s goals. A surprise for the team is the consistent emergence of freshman middie Elaine Draper, tallying three goals, including two on free position shots this season.

Defense: While the offense continues to produce well, the defense took a small step back to start 2017. Improvement is needed in certain areas with tight games being lost early in the season.

Compared to 2016, Salisbury is much higher in statistics that they have dominated of late. Into 2017, Salisbury is giving up about two goals-against average more. Most notably, the Sea Gulls’ defensive clearing was a high point in 2016, but 2017 sees the maroon and gold giving up 25 percent more clearing opportunities to opponents.

Player to Watch: Senior defender Kieran Kelleher

Salisbury’s defense could prove the difference in a game where two offenses clash scoring at the same rate per game. While junior goalkeeper Gianna Falcone owns the cage, other defenders such as Kelleher will need to be ready to take on a litany of Shorewomen attackers. Kelleher possesses the top numbers among the defense, leading the team with 13 groundballs and 10 caused turnovers over her five starts.

SU Injuries: For now, the Sea Gulls continue to be without the stars from a season ago, junior attacker Emma Wall and senior attacker Ariana Maxwell. Both large pieces to a greater puzzle in 2016, the two players are currently listed as out with injuries. Wall was in the top-five on the team in scoring a season ago with 26 goals, while Maxwell scored one less at 25. The offense had to adjust through the first few games but looks to be hitting its stride after the win over Rowan.

Washington College (2-1)

In their first two games, the Shorewomen broke down their Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) opponent Christopher Newport 10-9 and won in dominating fashion 17-3 at Lynchburg. The team then felt a wake-up call, falling 17-10 on the road at Stevenson. Salisbury sports a similar team to Stevenson, even defeating them in their home-opener. A topic of concern for the Shorewomen is whether their defense can hold SU back enough to allow their own offense to work. Otherwise, it might end similarly to their result midweek.

Offense: The Shorewomen offense has not seen problems with scoring but instead with keeping up with opponents. The positive for this unit is their balance behind lead scorer and senior attacker Katherine Vincent. Multiple players can pose a threat as a second scorer. One ready to step up again is sophomore attacker Cecily Docktor who has three goals and three assists so far in 2017. Docktor shined as a freshman, recording 32 goals and six assists.

Defense: After falling to Stevenson, Washington travelled back home having given up 17 goals, including a 7-0 run in the game. Now, with an elevated 9.77 goals-against average there is danger in an SU offense that is hitting their high mark for the season. This unit faces problems giving up fouls inside the eight-meter and 12-meter fans, which lead to goals in the end. There may not be a solution coming in for the Gulls, who run their offense by roaming in front of the cage.

Player to Watch: Senior attacker Katherine Vincent

On a rough night in Owings Mills, Md., Vincent led the way offensively for the Shorewomen. The senior accounted for six of the team’s 10 goals in the loss. Following a 2016 season when Vincent led her team in goals (45), assists (23) and points (78), she is following up with similar numbers to start the 2017 campaign. Leading her team with 14 goals currently, Vincent looks to be a nuisance for the Salisbury defense on Saturday. The senior is the type of offensive leader that can put the team on her back if it is a tough game at Sea Gull Stadium.

Washington players out: For the Shorewomen, their player that has missed all three previous contests is on the defensive end. Senior defender Anna Inserra is a central leader to their defense. She achieved second team all-Centennial Conference honors a season ago alongside winning the conference’s Scholar Athlete of the Year award. Roaming the field in multiple categories, Inserra led the Shorewomen in both groundballs (36) and draw controls (50) a season ago.

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