By CHRIS MACKOWIAK
It’s that weekend again, arguably the busiest of the fall at Salisbury University. Homecoming brings parents, family, friends and alumni from far and wide, and this year proves to be one of the busiest ones for Salisbury University athletics.
This Friday through Sunday all five team sports are in action here at home, allowing the SU student-athletes to enjoy the big weekend in their home venues. Below The Flyer is your guide to all the action this weekend, providing links to live stats and video alongside a brief prelude to the match-ups.
Stay tuned to The Flyer for recaps and postgame analysis following all the action this Homecoming Weekend.
SU women’s volleyball vs. No. 24 Christopher Newport: Friday, 7 p.m.
After going 2-4 in their last six games, Salisbury (12-6, 1-1 CAC) faces arguably their toughest two-game stretch of the season. In their Friday game, No. 24 CNU (15-3, 2-0 CAC) come to town on a three-match win streak, winning each in straight sets.
As with most Salisbury-CNU games, this series has been intense over the last few chapters. In the 2016 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) playoffs, SU had to battle back from a whole to force a fifth set. CNU then took the final set to win 3-2 and advance to the CAC Championship.
Despite Salisbury defeating CNU during the last regular season, the Captains have had SU’s number for the last decade. For a team that started 10-2, this is a good barometer to see if Salisbury is back on track.
SU football vs. CNU: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Coming off their bye week, Salisbury (3-1, 3-0 NJAC) welcomes in their rivals from down U.S. Route 13, the CNU Captains (4-1, 3-1 NJAC). The Sea Gulls are currently tied with No. 11 Frostburg State and No. 19 Wesley for first place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). FSU and Wesley face each other on Saturday.
The Captains’ only loss of 2017 came against Frostburg in a close 33-30 contest. Quarterback K.J. Kearney leads a potent passing offense out on the field, currently first in the conference in passing yards per game. CNU’s defense has also impressed forcing a conference leading 21 turnovers with a +15 turnover margin.
With two potent offenses, one in the air, and one on the ground, the under-card match-up is the defensive battle with both teams allowing less than 16.2 points-per-game.
SU men’s soccer vs. Penn St. – Harrisburg: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Following a four-game win streak, Salisbury (5-7, 1-2 CAC) has dropped their last two matches. After an offensive revival during that win streak, SU is plagued with the same chance-creating issues they saw to start 2017.
Coming off a 3-0 loss at York (Pa.), Penn St. – Harrisburg (8-5, 1-2 CAC) will also be looking to get back on track. Averaging 2.69 goals-per-game, the Lions have a formidable offense for the SU defense to deal with.
For SU, the result of this game will mean whether Salisbury continues serious contention for a CAC Championship. Energy and momentum are down for the Sea Gulls, but a win here and things could turn for the better.
Fans can read a recap of Salisbury’s most recent match here.
SU women’s soccer vs. Penn St. – Harrisburg: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Conference play has been kind to the Sea Gulls (5-7, 3-0 CAC). With senior forward Ruthie Lucas scoring and the defense letting up only a 0.60 goals-against average in their last five matches, the team is soaring as they continue an undefeated conference start.
Penn St. – Harrisburg (9-3, 2-1 CAC) comes into Salisbury looking to play spoiler after shutting out their last two CAC opponents. It is a match of streaky teams Saturday in the Sea Gull Soccer Stadium.
Fans can read about the women’s soccer team’s quick turn-around here.
SU women’s volleyball vs. Mary Washington: Saturday, 2 p.m.
After their match vs. CNU, the weekend does not get any easier for SU as the 2016 NCAA Quarterfinalist Mary Washington (10-6, 2-0 CAC) enter Maggs Physical Activities Center. The Eagles were dominant last season, winning the CAC title.
Following a rough non-conference slate, Mary Washington has won their last six matches with five of those by straight sets. On the road last season, Salisbury fell in straight sets to UMW.
At the very least, this weekend will tell SU fans where the women’s volleyball team is in the hierarchy of the CAC this season.
No. 7 SU field hockey vs. Frostburg State: Sunday, Noon
Salisbury (6-3, 0-1 CAC) returns to Sea Gull Stadium after dropping their last two results on the road at then-No. 15 CNU and at Catholic. SU has had trouble producing offensively recently, but they also gave up a 2-1 lead at Catholic.
Historically, the Sea Gulls have dominated the series with Frostburg State (3-9, 0-1 CAC). Fans should hope that this game offers a confidence boost for an SU squad in danger of falling too far behind in the conference race.
The Bobcats come into the match-up Sunday having lost their last five games.