By CHRIS MACKOWIAK
After a disappointing 8-4 result at No. 4 Franklin & Marshall on Sunday, the thirteenth-ranked Salisbury women’s lacrosse team (8-3, 4-0 CAC) bounced back in their home at Sea Gull Stadium with a dominating 18-2 win over their U.S. Route 13 rivals, the Wesley College Wolverines (5-5, 0-4 CAC).
The Sea Gulls got things going quickly in the warm evening with a goal 16 seconds into the contest. Junior midfielder Krissy Murphy broke past the Wesley defense to find a wide open teammate in junior attacker Dana King. King cleanly converted the opportunity to put up the Sea Gulls 1-0. The Lusby, Md. native led the team in points with five in the contest (two goals, three assists).
The Salisbury offense continued to thrive soon after with two more in the next two minutes. It was an early 3-0 lead that broke the game open for the Sea Gulls.
“On offense, it was basically just pass and move. We had two players on the inside trying to get open. They did a nice job taking care of the ball and moving it well,” SU head coach Jim Nestor said.
Offense continued to dominate well into the first half, scoring eight-straight goals prior to Wesley’s first goal. Fourteen different Sea Gulls scored over the span of the contest. Freshman attacker Gianna Demato featured for Salisbury, converting three goals off-the-bench to lead the team in the category.
“[Demato] made some nice catches on tight feeds,” coach Nestor said.
The second half continued with much of the same as the Sea Gulls outscored the Wolverines 7-0 in just the later half after Salisbury was up 11-2 at the break.
With only two Wesley goals scored and both in the first half, defense seemed to be at a premium for Salisbury on the surface, but the real top performances came in the battles for possession at the draw control and on clears. Salisbury limited the number of Wesley offensive possessions early and often.
Coming into the contest, the Wolverines’ offense was averaging over 12 goals per game. The strong offense was pressed back simply because they could not garner offensive possession regularly.
At midfield on restarts, the Sea Gulls played dominantly, winning 17 of the 21 draw controls in the game to spur on their quick attack. Wesley averaged a 42 percent success rate at draw control entering the game, but they could only muster the four opportunities.
Similar occurrences came when clearing throughout the game. It was rare when Wesley did not have problems getting out of their own end of the field.
“We were talking to the girls about it that we don’t need to worry about checking, just slow the ball up and then hopefully get some easy double teams to get the ball on the ground and cause some turnovers,” coach Nestor said.
The Salisbury defense rode Wesley’s clearing well, allowing the Wolverines to complete only 10 of their 22 attempted clears. The efficient riding of clears led to 21 Wesley turnovers, contributing to the Salisbury victory.
Now still perfect at home and in Capital Athletic Conference (CAC), Salisbury looks to build on their momentum from the win as they head into a battle with CAC-foe St. Mary’s College of Maryland (6-6, 2-1 CAC) Saturday afternoon.
While Salisbury does hold on to three losses this season, all three have come vs. ranked opponents. The Sea Gulls are 2-3 against ranked teams, bolstering their National Collegiate Athletics Association Tournament resume.
“It was good to get everyone together and keep everyone’s spirits up, knowing that we have a big game this weekend,” coach Nestor said.