Challenges coming as Sea Gulls MBK starts 2-0

By CHRIS MACKOWIAK

Sports Editor

@cmackowiakSGSN

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Senior guard Jordan Brooks looks for an open opportunity vs. York (Pa.) last season. Amy Wojtowicz photo

If anyone is familiar with Salisbury men’s basketball, they knew many questions would haunt the Sea Gulls to start this season as the team lost six of their top players, including returning only two starters.

After a 2-0 start, it seems that the puzzle pieces are being put into place as to the identity of this 2017-18 team. Most notable on the team’s stat line is their 93.5 points-per-game and 53.5 rebounds-per-game.

Those two numbers seem insane considering the questions in the post and scoring this season, but this young, streaky team is proving the doubters wrong at least early on. Salisbury was picked to finish tied for third in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) after finishing as the conference runner-up the last two seasons.

While fresh faces and freshmen littered the opening day roster, the team was not as inexperienced as fans initially thought. That fact has played out on the court in their opening wins over Washington College and Goucher College.

Despite a packed Maggs PAC for the season-opener last Wednesday with an impressive student crowd, there should be some caution on high-expectations. Fans should let this team grow and breath as the season goes on.

Although the numbers are very impressive from the team’s opening victories, Washington and Goucher combined for 12 wins last season. Therefore, they are not the best competition to gauge this Sea Gull squad on. However, what Salisbury did on the floor is notable.

The real tests for this team come over a two-game stretch starting Tuesday. The Sea Gulls host Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Semifinalist Virginia Wesleyan (2-0) in their annual match-up as an appetizer prior to the Thanksgiving break. After that, Salisbury heads down to Newport News, Va. for their opening CAC game against their rivals Christopher Newport (2-0).

Marlins and Sea Gulls are more alike than one would think

Over the last few years, the VWU Marlins and Salisbury have matched up well. Both teams rely heavily on the three-pointer and like to play aggressive defense by stealing the ball to force turnovers.

This season the comparisons become a bit creepy. The Marlins lost a size-able amount of their team as well from last season, including four starters among the seven seniors from last season.

The two most notable players of the four were guards Tim Jones and Khory Moore. Moore is now playing professional basketball in Croatia after scoring over 2000 career points and averaging 17.8 points-per-game across his four-year career which included 93 starts in 114 appearances.

Jones provided scoring alongside his point guard duties during his 79 career starts, averaging 3.1 assists-per-game and 10.4 points-per-game.

With those two scorers gone from a team that averaged 82.5 points-per-game last season, the Marlins are looking for new options just like the Sea Gulls.

One more comparison between the two. VWU Head Coach Dave Macedo, now in his 18th season, has developed the Marlins into a perennial power in the past. He is the winningest coach in the program’s history, leading VWU to a national title in 2005-6 and two other Final Four appearances.

However, the team has not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2014-15, a rarity. On the court in Maggs on Tuesday will be two teams on the opposite ends of the spectrum.

A coach in SU’s Andy Sachs who is in his third season back in the maroon and gold trying to lead a younger squad to another NCAA Tournament in order to extend their program-record three consecutive NCAA appearance streak. On the other side, Macedo is looking to bring the Marlins back to the ‘promised land’ with a newer squad of his own.

Marlins and Sea Gulls will never see eye-to-eye, except on the hardwood Tuesday night as two teams picked to finish third in their respective conferences battle it out.

Changing tides under Sachs

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SU Head Coach Andy Sachs looks on at Salisbury vs. York (Pa.) from last season. Chris Mackowiak photo

The former Virginia Wesleyan assistant, Sachs has won his only two games against the Marlins as the Salisbury head coach. Two years ago, Salisbury took down the second-ranked Marlins 71-60 in Maggs. Last season, VWU could not find the revenge factor in their home venue and fell again to Salisbury 68-60.

For two teams that emphasize similar principles in their overall game plans, those two score lines display some good-sized victories for the maroon and gold in games that could have gone either way.

Two stats really made the difference in those last two contests: free throw percentage and turnovers.

Over the last two match-ups, both teams have gotten to the line, but only one has really capitalized on it. Salisbury has a 71.2 percent mark between the two games, near their seasonal average. VWU only had 56.3 percent mark at the line despite having more attempts in the two games.

Early on this season, the Marlins only have a 62.2 percent mark at the line, 10th currently among ODAC teams. It might be a formula that hampers the away side once again.

However, if VWU can find their touch at the line, they could see big points. After only committing a CAC-best 16.9 personal fouls per game last season, Salisbury is giving up 23 personals-per-game through their two games. For a young Salisbury team, the chances might come for the Marlins.

Taking advantage of opportunities provided by the opponent is definitely something to watch in this game. Both teams enjoy stealing the ball as both are first in steals-per-game among their respective conference teams.

Both squads also are forcing the most turnovers among their conference teams with 21.5 apiece. However, Salisbury has had the better defensive effort when the teams meet.

The last two seasons VWU has averaged 18.5 turnovers against SU, while Salisbury only commits nine turnovers-per-game against the Marlins.

As Sachs looks to implement his aggressive full-court press from two seasons ago, watch for the Marlins to try and tackle this obstacle.

Down the line, watch the CNU guard situation

While the Marlins are the focus this week with Salisbury’s next game over a week away, it is worth it to keep an eye on the conference-favorite and 14th ranked CNU Captains. As Salisbury grows into a new squad, they draw the two-time CAC defending champions as their conference opener.

However, the Captains are dealing with nagging injuries to start the season. CNU has started the season 3-0, but the first two were wins in close contests against Randolph Macon and Catholic.

Just like the Sea Gulls, CNU has lost much star power in the off season, which opens the door even more for a veteran heavy York (Pa.) squad in the CAC. However, one senior that does return for the Captains have been notably absent.

Maybe the best back court in the CAC, senior guards Aaron McFarland and Marcus Carter have not seen the floor in excess to start the season. McFarland missed the first game before returning for the last two, and Carter reportedly suffered an injury after playing for five minutes in the season opener.

As two players that are very important for the Captains to keep their CAC-run going, it is an important story-line going forward, especially considering that the Sea Gulls travel to Newport News, Va. on Nov. 29.

The depth of CNU Head Coach John Krikorian’s teams is always impressive and they have needed to go to it early on. However, if Salisbury can find their stride and chemistry early on this season, the Sea Gulls could take advantage.

The schedule also does work out well for the Sea Gulls in the end with the Captains not coming to Salisbury until Jan. 31, when the freshmen will be at their most experienced. For a Salisbury program that has not had the ball bounce their way in the certain recent CAC Championship games, the path may draw some light.

The magic of live performance

By ALLISON GUY

Staff Writer

OPINION – There is nothing quite like going to see a live performance.

The performers—whether singers, actors, dancers, or some other type of entertainers—are physically in front of you, sharing the same space.

You become a part of the crowd, getting lost in its energy. You hear the performers respond to the audience with ad-libbed comments, which are sometimes sentimental, sometimes humorous, and almost always entertaining.

As the show plays out before your eyes, there are no spoiler alerts. Each moment is new and thrilling.

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  Fulton Hall’s Black Box Theatre is where many live performances are held every semester that are open to students and the public.  Photo credit: Allison Guy

And when the event is over, you are left with the memory—which is hopefully a good one—and this memory comes to mind whenever you see or hear something that reminds you of the performance.

In the case of concerts, when you hear the recorded version of a song that was played live at the concert, you cannot help but think about the live performance.

You cannot get any of that if you stay at home and watch Netflix, or even if you go to the movie theater to see the latest blockbuster.

While both recorded and live performances have their merits, there is something special about going out to see a live performance. Performances are shared experiences, shared only by the people who attended or performed at the event.

There’s a sense of exclusivity about a live performance, like it is a secret that you and only a select group of people share.

With the internet, people (often illegally) record performances and post them on YouTube, opening up more people to the partial experience of the performance, but it is not quite the same as physically being in the same space as the performers.

Maybe this unique sense stems from the fact that live performances are not something you can go back and experience again after they have ended. Sure, you can watch a video that you recorded on your phone during a concert, but there is no way that you are going to have the experience of being at that concert again.

This is in contrast to TV shows and movies, which you can watch—and experience exactly the same way—over and over again.

Performances can also provide an escape for people, causing them to temporarily forget about their personal troubles or circumstances.

For me, going out to see a live performance is exciting; it is something that I do not get to do every day. When I watch a performance, I let myself become immersed in it. The stresses of college and young adult life leave my mind. This sense of an escape from reality is part of what gives live performances their appeal.

Live performances are not only rewarding for audience members, but also entertainers.

“I love telling a story,” says Theatre major Jake Thereault. “I love being able to share cool stories with other people, and… theatre is the way to do that. There’s just something different about being in the same space as the performers and as the actors. You can feel the energy in the room.”

The energy that Jake spoke of is unique to live performances, once-in-a-lifetime events that will never come again.

Take that, Netflix.

Trump’s America: A Year in Review

By ETHAN WILT

Staff Writer

OPINION – It has been just over one year since the election of Donald J. Trump and the commencement of the wild ride America has been on since.

If there is one word to describe the atmosphere of the past year, it would be chaos. The country appears as if it has been flipped on its head. No matter how much people try to act like everything is normal, it is not.

The past year has been filled with investigations, confusing foreign policy, controversy, and low approval ratings. This period will go down as one of the most chaotic times in American political history.

On election night, in his victory speech, Trump pledged, “I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me”. Yet since the election, he has stoked division, almost daily on his Twitter account. Not one to hold back, he has attacked both Democrats and Republicans, merely for disagreeing with him.

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President Donald Trump giving one of the first executive orders of his presidency (picture from CNN.com).

The multiple investigations into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election and whether anyone, especially from the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, has consumed the administration. Each story that drops is a bombshell that appears to catch the administration off-guard and send it reeling.

With the firing of the FBI Director, James Comey, Trump not only intensified the investigations, but expanded them as well, by forcing the Justice Department to appoint a Special Council to conduct the investigation.

For all the talk of unity, division is what has been witnessed most often. Following the protests and violent attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia, the President set himself apart from the rest of the country by refusing to specifically condemn white nationalists at the rally.

While the president is frustrated that his agenda is not getting through congress, division is not the solution.

The Republican Party has become so factionalized and members are finding it difficult to accomplish anything. The party controls both houses of Congress, as well as The White House, yet has struggled to pass any meaningful legislation from their agenda.

Over the summer, the task of repealing and replacing Obamacare stalled, and then gained steam, and then stalled again. Republicans have been swept into office since 2012, at both the federal level, as well as state and local governments.

When actually confronted with replacing the act, division set in. Moderates within the party did not want to fully dismantle the law, while hard line conservatives looked for a full repeal and a streamlined bill that would hand much of the power, funding, and decision making to the states.

These divisions proved too much to handle for the party leadership, as they failed to reconcile differences between their members, with bills either being too moderate, or too conservative.

With all of the problems existing within the Republican Party, the Democratic Party is in its own period of chaos. Members of the Obama/Clinton wing of the party are clashing with the Sanders wing, which is moving further and further left, risking the party’s viability in elections.

Since Hillary Clinton’s loss last November, the finger pointing began and has continued. Clinton herself released a book, detailing why she believes she lost. Acquaintances of Clinton, party leadership, and political pundits alike have all given their reasons for her loss as well.

Scandals within the party have only further divided the party. Bernie Sanders supporters had their worst suspicions validated with the release of emails detailing that the party preferred Clinton, and never fully gave Sanders the chance.

Up until Virginia elections a week ago, they had failed to win any of the special elections across the country. Even with the President’s approval ratings historically low, they lack a platform to run on, and it shows. In order to win elections they have to be more than anti-Trump and actually offer something.

Increasingly playing a role in divisions, the cable media plays to the worst of people of each party with Fox News on the right, and CNN and MSNBC on the left.

Each one has commentators that further push the opinions and policies of each party further and further from each other. What was once simply a disagreement now makes the other “crazy” or “insane”.

It seems as if there is no room for moderates in American government or society anymore for divisions are growing deeper and the reasons why are increasing.

It is important to remember that these issues did not arise with the candidacy and election of Donald Trump and have been brewing for years before. However the election of President Trump has intensified this climate.

These issues will not go away once he is out of office either, and it will take years, likely even decades of hard work to create an American that is amicable once again.

Disasters like hurricane Harvey this summer show that America can still unite when challenged. They show our potential, one that is not being seen often.

This year has been full of chaos, and it is difficult to remain optimistic after everything that has happened. Things will get better, but when this will happen is anyone’s guess.

Sea Gulls head to ECAC Bowl to cap off season

By ETHAN WILT

Staff Writer

@Ethan__Wilt

What: Salisbury Football (7-3) vs. Ithaca College (7-3)

Where: University of Delaware

When: 5 p.m.

How to Watch: ECAC All-Access

Salisbury (7-3) is coming off against a crushing overtime loss against now-NCAA Tournament team Frostburg State last Saturday in the Regents Cup, but lucked out Monday and earned a spot in the Scotty Whitelaw Bowl this Saturday against Ithaca College (7-3). The Sea Gulls look to finish their season out on a high note and head into next season with momentum.

Salisbury

Salisbury’s offense was largely held in check against Frostburg, being held to 272 yards on offense. Against the Bobcats, Salisbury’s explosive triple option, which has worked for the Sea Gulls all season, was shut down by Frostburg’s fast and aggressive front seven.

Salisbury’s super backs left a lot on the field last week and will look to step up their game against the Bombers this Saturday.

Offense

If they want to end the season on a high note, Salisbury needs to be somewhat effective in their passing game. Last weekend senior quarterback Brandon Lewis, completed 2 of 8 passes in the game, and there appeared to be a hesitancy to use their passing game. Lewis needs to be more effective throwing the ball in the game this weekend to take some of the load off the shoulders of his backs.

Even with a stout Frostburg defense keying in on them all game, super backs Malique Pratt and Dandre Dennis found space to run and did enough to keep the game tied up at seven all for most of the game.

They were just under their season average, so some action in the passing game could really open it up for these two players, and thus the game for the Sea Gulls

Defense

Salisbury’s defense this whole season, when facing a potent offense, has been “bend, but don’t break.” And they have become strong at displaying that motto. The Sea Gull secondary held the New Jersey Athletic Conference’s (NJAC) top passing offense to 188 yards last weekend.

That show of defense in the secondary bodes well for this weekend, where Salisbury is going up Ithaca’s freshman quarterback, Wahid Nabi, who was just named The Liberty League’s Rookie of the Year.

The Sea Gull’s front seven and run defense should continue to have success in the Scotty Whitelaw Bowl Saturday, continuing their solid play they have demonstrated all season.

Keys to the Game

Salisbury needs to mix up the play calling this weekend. Against less dominant defenses, the triple option works beautifully, and the offense can ride that consistently to over 30 points each game. However, with a somewhat dominant front seven, it has been seen that shutting down the Salisbury run game shuts down their entire offense.

A mix of well-timed, play-action passes, that are executed, could open up the game for the Sea Gulls this Saturday. Their run game is always a focus for opposing defenses, so throw them off at times. Some quick slants certainly couldn’t hurt either.

Player to Watch: Brandon Lewis

We said it last weekend, and we’ll say it again: Brandon Lewis is what opens up this game for Salisbury. The run game can’t be relied on completely, and at times proficiency in the passing game is a necessity. A poor showing for Lewis in the passing game again, and Salisbury is immediately put in a more difficult position to win.

At Thursday’s weekly Coaches Luncheon, SU Head Coach Sherman Wood noted that Lewis has been banged up the last few weeks. If Lewis cannot make the start on Saturday, freshman quarterback Jack Lanham will get it.

Ithaca College

A member of the Liberty League, Ithaca comes into Saturday’s match-up with the same record as, and a somewhat familiarity with the Sea Gulls. Led by an experienced defense and an efficient offense, they have consistently kept themselves in the win column all season.

Offense

The Bomber’s offense is led by Wahid Nabi, their freshman quarterback. Nothing really jumps out at anyone when looking at their offense. They are remarkably average when compared to some of the explosive offense’s the Sea Gulls have played this year.

Their games are often kept close, so their offense doesn’t have to do too much, and they are comfortable with that. Surpassing 30 points just three times this season, their offense will be tested to see if they can keep up with Salisbury if needed.

Defense

While the offense is all about the future and youth, this defense is nothing if not experience. They are home to an all-conference defensive lineman, Brian Gill, linebackers Kenny Bradley and Dan Loizos as well as defensive back Jordan Schemm. They are stacked with talent at all levels of their defense.

Because of this, it is easy to see how they have been so effective all season, often holding opponents under 30 points.

This game, their top lineman and linebackers will have to be playing at the height of their games this Saturday in order to stop the triple option of the Sea Gulls.

Keys to the Game

Ithaca’s front seven holds their key to victory in this game. We saw what happened last weekend when Salisbury’s run game is shut down. If they can do the same thing this weekend, they could be well on their way to a bowl game victory.

Their offense often has not had to do a lot because of their defense this season. If they contain Salisbury’s super backs, what has often been just enough for the Bomber’s offense could be plenty enough to defeat Salisbury.

Player to Watch: Brian Gill

Their top player on the defensive line, Gill will look to set the mood for how the defense as a whole will play. Leading the point of attack against the run, Gill will play a large role in Ithaca’s defensive effort.

Not only stopping the run game, but also applying pressure on Lewis when Salisbury decides to pass will provide a large boost to Ithaca’s defensive effort.

Dr. Shawn McEntee hosts tenth PACE lecture

By: Abby Bivens

Staff Writer

@abigaillorene

Do we see wind, or the effects of wind?

This was the question posed during PACE’s Monday night lecture series “Democracy Across the Disciplines.”

Dr. Shawn McEntee, an associate professor of sociology at Salisbury, asked the audience this question leading into their discussion regarding marginalization and political access.

The question surrounds power and its distribution in society. It theorizes that power distribution is not directly seen, but its effects can be observed and studied.

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Abby Bivens photo.

During her lecture, McEntee led an interactive discussion about marginalized populations within the democracy of the United States.

Marginalizing can be defined as “relegating to an unimportant or powerless position within a society or group,” according to Merriam Webster.

Historically this has been done with women and minority groups in the political realm of the U.S.

When asked what marginalizes people, the class reached a consensus that history had a lot to do with it. Dr. Shane Hall, assistant professor of English, chimed in saying that past social and political structures in the nation tend to hinder future developments.

Dr. McEntee explained that another factor that tends to impact one’s political access is education, thus referencing Dr. Erin Stutelberg’s presentation in early October.

As a sociologist Dr. McEntee has recognized how much of an impact education has on social class, which is a big factor in determining political access in this country.

While marginalization is a deep seeded issue in society, Dr. McEntee proposed a few possible solutions, a major one was avoiding stereotypes.

She suggests that the general population needs to allow groups to name themselves. This means not creating labels for minority groups, but also respecting the names or labels that they create.

Once groups create their own labels, Dr. McEntee says to listen to what they say, and how they say it.

One particular example of self-labeling that she provided was the “n” word, which is generally accepted when used by the black population, but not whites. A racist term that was often used in reference to slaves in the 19th century, has become a common term used amongst African Americans.

Paying attention to this norm and simply respecting it can allow for less marginalization.

Lastly, Dr. McEntee touched on the importance of becoming sensitive to language that dehumanizes and disempowers people.

Sociologists have come to the conclusion that harsh, dehumanizing terms such as ‘illegal alien’ are not subtle and have an unmeasured negative effect on these marginalized populations.

One of the keys to reducing the use of destructive language is saying something when you hear it and standing against it.

Dr. McEntee notes that these conversations can be difficult to have, but even extremely basic phrases like ‘I’m a little surprised that you would use that word,’ can prompt one to reexamine their diction.

Allowing someone to use dehumanizing terminology is perpetuating the issue.

The next lecture in PACE’s “Democracy Across the Disciplines” will be given by Associate Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department Dr. Michèle Schlehofer on Nov. 20. Schlehofer will be discussing the topic of community organizing and protest in today’s society.

Lectures are held Monday evenings at 7 p.m. in Fulton Hall, Room 111. All lectures in this series are open to any SU student as well as the general public.

The Praxis Core test and why it still matters

By ALLISON GUY

Staff Writer

OPINION— Along with creating lesson plans and making sure they get enough hours at their school placement, many education majors are conscious of the Praxis Core. This necessary evil is meant to ensure that teacher candidates are ready to educate children for the future.

In most states, if a teacher wants to get certified to teach elementary content, history, secondary education, special education and more, they must be proficient in this test.

While there are additional Praxis tests required for certain content areas such as world languages, all education majors must be evaluated in mathematics, writing and reading through a standardized format.

There is a growing argument that this standardized testing is not necessary for all teachers. Some would say that a physical education teacher does not need to know concepts of math to be successful at their job.

Math, reading and writing skills all come in to play during a teacher’s daily routine, though sometimes indirectly.

For example, if a teacher is writing on a classroom board, they need to ensure that they are using proper grammar and spelling. In turn, their students will then most likely use proper grammar and spelling as well.

“A teacher needs to have these basic skills mastered, because these are important foundations that we as educators need to pass on to the future,” says Megan Lynch, a Praxis Core tutor for the Center for Student Achievement at Salisbury University. “Every teacher candidate must ask themselves ‘would I want my child to be taught by a person who does not know reading, math, and writing?’ ”

Students, especially elementary school students, learn copious amounts of information from their teachers. It is vital that their teachers are able to provide them with basic knowledge that they will use for the rest of their lives.

According to a 2016 survey done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 70.2 percent of employers surveyed said they look for written communication skills on recent college graduates’ resumes, while 68.9 percent said the same for verbal communication skills.

Both written and verbal communication skills are learned through reading and writing.

Also, 70.2 percent of employers and 62.7 percent of employers said they look for problem solving skills, and analytical and quantitative abilities on recent college graduates’ resumes.

Mathematics can help students develop problem solving skills, especially analytical and quantitative skills. This proves that reading, writing and mathematics are important for students to have not only while they are in school, but also to help them get hired later in life.

What is most important is that the Praxis Core test evaluates reading, writing and mathematics skills. Teachers in every subject area use the concepts covered in the Praxis Core in teaching and everyday life.

Although it is expensive, the test helps education students prepare for their future careers as successful teachers.

The great melting of Greenland’s glaciers

By LILY BAZIS

Staff Writer

OPINION — The health of our planet is often something people take for granted.

Very few stop to think about the consequences their daily actions have on the Earth. Global warming deniers and some politicians refuse to acknowledge that the human race is slowly destroying the planet.

Global warming is not new to the public, as it has been reported on for years. Yet, it is

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As sea levels continue to rise as the glaciers of Greenland are slowly melting away. Source: NASA caption

still neglected by way too many people. Even the most concrete evidence given by dedicated and experienced scientists has not swayed much of the public.

If more people were convinced of the issue, perhaps there would not be such an increase in global warming as we are seeing today. One problem being reported by media is the melting of glaciers.

Recently, the glaciers of Greenland happen to be the topic of conversation on NASA’s Global Climate Change website. An article published on Nov. 1. confirms that “New maps of Greenland’s coastal seafloor and bedrock beneath its massive ice sheet show that two to four times as many coastal glaciers are at risk of accelerated melting as previously thought.”

Together, researchers at NASA, the University of California, Irvine and 30 other institutions have presented what they believe is the most comprehensive and accurate map of Greenland’s bedrock and coastal seafloor. Using this information, they have concluded that the damage to the glaciers is much worse than they had previously thought. This further proves the detrimental effects global warming can have on the planet.

“These results suggest that Greenland’s ice is more threatened by changing climate than we had anticipated,” said John Willis, the Principal Investigator of NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland mission.

Known as the “great melt” in Science Magazine, Greenland’s accelerating surface melt has doubled the sea level rise from 1992-2011, to .74mm per year.

This finding has left many scientists baffled, including geophysicist Isabella Velicogna of the University of California, Irvine.

“Nobody expected the ice sheet to lose so much mass so quickly, things are happening a lot faster than we expected,” Velicogna said.

It is quite alarming to learn that so many scientists are astounded by the results they are encountering, and concerning in terms of what this means for the future of our planet. Earth is our home, and it should be treated with respect. Instead, Earth is falling victim to the horrible effects of global warming, a slow but definite killer.

It is important to acknowledge that global warming is indeed happening, and will be impacting people in the future. The quicker we realize this, the sooner we can get to work on a possible solution. Of course there is no easy fix, but there are definitely ways to prevent problems like these in the future. Hopefully we can help save the Earth one step at a time.

With young talent, SU men’s basketball has a high-ceiling

By CHRIS MACKOWIAK

Sports Editor

@cmackowiakSGSN

Three seasons, three NCAA Tournament appearances. The last few seasons have been fruitful for the Salisbury University men’s basketball season, making three NCAA brackets in three consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.

However, the program yearns for the next step in success moving forward. SU Head Coach Andrew Sachs has been at the helm for the last two of those three seasons.

Those two seasons are marked by rivalry battles with Christopher Newport, who have claimed the last two CAC Championships over the Sea Gulls by a combined two points.

That two-point margin is similar to the margin for Sachs and the Sea Gulls to take that next step. The pieces were there after two 20-plus win seasons, but those pieces create a completely different puzzle in this 2017-18 season.

With the departure of a historic senior core, Sachs brought in a revamped squad filled with young talent in transfers and true freshmen. The real question for the season is how quick this team will find chemistry and mature, and then how strong they will become in February after learning lessons early on.

“The goal never changes. It’s to win the CAC and get in the NCAA Tournament. We lost at the buzzer the last two years and it basically cost us a home game in the NCAA Tournament. The league is going to be much better,” Sachs said.

Needing to replenish

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Former Sea Gull Justin Witmer takes a three-pointer vs. York (Pa.) last season. Amy Wojtowicz photo

The most notable change fans will notice this season is the many departures. Six key players are gone from the team entering the current campaign.

Foremost, veteran forwards Wyatt Smith, Gordon Jeter and guard Justin Witmer graduate from the team as crucial members of a historic run. The three combined for one conference championship and three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, a first in program history.

The contributions of these three core players are known throughout SU Athletics. Witmer and Jeter both hit their 1,000th point mark last season. The trio leave having tallied over 2,900 points and nearly 1,400 rebounds in over 6,900 career minutes.

Smith had a well-known comeback story too, returning to the team for a strong campaign last season. He had a season-ending injury ahead of the 2015-16 season that left him off the court.

Also not returning to the team this season are previous junior-college transfer forwards Terray Quickley and Barry Bratten. Freshman center Nick Gittings also is not returning to the program following a strong second half to last season. All three players leave for various personal reasons.

Despite the losses, Sachs does see some positives to the new additional youth this season.

“Our depth is much better. We played a lot of guys. Obviously our bench will get shorter as the season starts. We did lose all of our depth from last year,” Sachs said.

“I think a younger squad is more open to learning. They’re not stubborn.”

This young group will be tested quickly as the season gets under way. The hope for Salisbury is that returning players improve and answer the call. One vacancy is within the leadership department where Sachs has his eyes on a few players.

“You hope the guys in your program get better. That’s what good programs do,” Sachs said.

Leadership stepping up

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Senior guard Jordan Brooks puts the ball to the floor. Amy Wojtowicz photo

 

One group clearly vacant from the roster are seniors. The team only brings back two seniors in guard Jordan Brooks and forward Chad Barcikowski.

Brooks has been up-and-down over his SU career, but Sachs does point out that the guard is one of only four SU players to ever appear on three separate Salisbury NCAA Tournament teams.

The Owings Mills, Md. native will be called upon to step up this season.

Barcikowski has become known for his perimeter shooting ability over the last two seasons after transferring to Salisbury from York (Pa.) as Sachs came into his new position.

The Sykesville, Md. native improved to 12 points-per-game (PPG) and 5.4 rebounds-per-game (RPG) last season, but that improvement has not come with leadership on the court, yet at least. He is a player to watch as the season goes on.

“I think if Chad learns to play with emotion and doesn’t get emotional, I think he can be a really good leader, but he has to be able to show that on a consistent basis,” Sachs said.

One player Sachs has his eyes on to excel at leading on and off-the-floor is a junior in Chase Kumor. The Newtown, Pa. native has only seen 25 career appearances in the maroon and gold, but he has made a strong impression on his head coach.

“Chase gets it. He understands the value of team. He’s very good at bringing the guys together. He’s extremely unselfish. He’s kind of what you want like a glue-guy, but he’s also my captain,” Sachs said.

After dealing with a preseason injury, Kumor has found it tough to get back on the court, but he certainly made an impact already on the freshman class. It is a class that Sachs sees future team leaders in two or three seasons down the line.

Back Court

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Sophomore guard Al Leder takes a three-pointer vs. York (Pa.) last season. Amy Wojtowicz photo

In Sachs’ first season two years ago, veteran guards overflowed the line-up. Last year, they were hard to come by. This season that depth should be back again with an influx of talented youth.

A foremost concern last season was the point guard spot. Witmer’s experience helped the position as then-freshman Al Leder adjusted Division III play early on.

Leder’s turnovers and inexperience were a worry throughout the season, but Sachs sees a new player in practice this season.

“Leder has accepted the challenge and has come in in great shape. He’s much better than he was last year, much more mature than last year. That’s what we’re looking for,” Sachs said.

With 28 starts now under his belt, Leder is much more prepared headed into his second season of play. Bolstering the depth at the position is also a new transfer, Blair Davis.

The junior Davis comes in from D-2 Lincoln University where he averaged 15 minutes per game in 25 appearances last season. The Towson, Md. native tallied 3.4 PPG and 1.4 APG during the season.

“We needed to create competition and that’s what we did,” Sachs said.

Salisbury also brought in freshman guard Johnny Fierstein who Sachs says possesses a high-ceiling within Division III after drawing D-2 eyes during recruiting.

“High basketball IQ. He has to know two positions,” Sachs said. “He knows the game really well, understands what he’s good at and what he’s not good at. Some guys aren’t really good at doing that.”

The Quince Orchard (Md.) graduate will see time on the ball and off the ball over the course of the season, but expect Fierstein to see much playing time early in the season despite his freshman status.

Returning to the team is Brooks too who offers experience to the young squad but also must show further consistency this season. Alongside Brooks, Braedon Dorsey returns to the fold in his sophomore campaign after contributing offensively off the bench last season.

Freshman guard Mike Ward is another player with a high-ceiling for the Sea Gulls. He is still working his way away from two seasons ago.

Local Eastern Shore fans will recognize a familiar face new to the Sea Gulls as Stephen Decatur High School prospect Gary Briddell takes the floor. Sachs is interested to see what the freshman brings with his strong energy and great rebounding.

“The three freshmen [overall] and some of the transfers have provided major competition in practice that I think some of the guys were shocked at honestly. They’re gonna play because they earned it. They’re not scared,” Sachs said.

Front Court

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Former Sea Gull forward Wyatt Smith looks for an open senior forward Chad Barcikowski in the corner. Amy Wojtowicz photo

One thing really for certain in the front court is the return of Barcikowski, who with his height improved on his rebounding a season ago. The senior will of course bring a streaky offensive force too.

The question marks come through the rest of the depth as Jeter, Smith and Gittings depart the squad. Due to various preseason injuries, it has been a revolving door for playing time in scrimmages vs. Morgan State and Wilmington University, but that is also a positive, offering good depth and experience.

Sophomore forward Lucas Martin and center J.P. Krotulis both return offering some stability to the new season. Despite both players feeling preseason injuries, Sachs sees the two getting good minutes early in the season.

“[Lucas] is another guy with a high basketball IQ. He’s a thin 4-or-5, but he’s got really good footwork. His left hand is much improved around the hoop,” Sachs said.

The two combined for 28 appearances last season. Junior guard Jack Ferguson also returns with a three-point shooting ability that really appeared in the second half of last season off the bench.

Among newcomers looking to contribute quickly is a former St. Mary’s (Md.) Seahawk in James Foley. Foley transfers in to SU after playing his freshman season in St. Mary’s City, where he averaged 4.9 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 16 starts and 27 total appearances.

“In the preseason, he’s really looked good. He’s really gotten himself in shape. He took a year off after transferring from St. Mary’s. I think once he rounds into shape I think he’s going to be really good for us. Skilled kid, real versatile,” Sachs said.

What Foley really brings to the mix is an already developed knowledge of the CAC having been through one season in the league already.

At center looking for a time with Krotulis will be another transfer. Sophomore center Johnson Ogunyoye comes in from Prince George’s Community College where he averaged 4.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 16 starts and 30 appearances last season.

“Johnson just goes after the basketball. Rebounding out of your area is something really good rebounders do. Guys who don’t rebound in their area – I don’t care how good they are – are not very good rebounders. He gets after it,” Sachs said.

Ogunyoye has been one of the only players not to face injuries in the preseason, which allowed him to see much time in scrimmages. He has taken advantage of those injury reps, utilizing his 6-foot-10-inch wingspan in multiple ways.

“You get a shot blocker in there. He makes our defense a little bit better. For a lot of guys that don’t guard great and can’t guard the basketball well and give up line drives, he makes up for a lot of mistakes,” Sachs said.

While Ogunyoye is pretty stout defensively to Sachs, the SU head coach sees room to improve on the offensive side. The JUCO-transfer’s ceiling will be determined by his offensive development in the first few weeks.

Sachs sees rebounding as an area of concern headed into the season, but the height and depth is there to get the job done on multiple fronts.

Expanding the staff

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SU Head Coach Andrew Sachs looks across the court vs. York (Pa.) last season. Amy Wojtowicz photo

Off the court the team is seeing changes too. With previous assistant coach Mike Fitzpatrick leaving for a coaching position at Susquehanna University, Sachs had the opportunity to bring in a few new voices to the coaching staff.

Replacing Fitzpatrick on the staff is former Division III player Daniel Eacho. Eacho possesses Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) blood, having his primary coaching and playing experience in the conference.

Other than time as an assistant coach in Virginia high school basketball and at Hampden-Sydney for one season, Eacho had his most experience at Roanoke College as a player. The 2015 Maroon graduate totaled over 1,000 career points and was a two-time All-ODAC honoree.

“I think he brings a little different [viewpoint,] plus he’s got a post presence where our post guys really feed off him,” Sachs said. “I think he’s a great teacher.”

Joining Eacho are two former Sea Gulls from the past. As a member of the 1994 SU men’s basketball team, Shawn Tucker returns to don the maroon and gold.

Tucker has spent his coaching career primarily at the local and community level, most recently coaching at Parkside High School in Salisbury.

“He’s a local guy. He has real positive energy in practice,” Sachs said.

Former Sea Gull Brian McDermott returns for another season on the Salisbury coaching staff. McDermott was part of the 1996-97 Elite Eight team. He has spent his career coaching around the Delmarva Peninsula, most recently coaching at Sussex Tech in Delaware.

“They bring a lot more maturity in practice. I think it helps. It doesn’t hurt you,” Sachs said.

Learning quickly

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Fans look on in Maggs Physical Activities Center as Salisbury faces York (Pa.) last season. Amy Wojtowicz photo

Before getting into the heart of CAC play early on, Salisbury has a few games to gel and retool their arsenal. That stretch starts at home.

On Wednesday, the Sea Gulls start the season hosting their fellow Eastern Shore school Washington College. They then will travel to Goucher College for their first road contest on Nov. 18.

Goucher and Washington do offer good opponents to figure things out against, after the schools combined for 12 wins last season.

The next week is when the schedule really starts to heat up with an appetizer before the Thanksgiving break on Nov. 21.

Salisbury welcomes in the Virginia Wesleyan University Marlins for the Tuesday showdown in an annual series. The Marlins had a winning record last season at 19-9 (10-6 ODAC), making it to the ODAC Semifinals. It is a solid strength of schedule test prior to their first conference game at Christopher Newport.

For a young team still finding their chemistry, the Sea Gulls could not have drawn a tougher opening-CAC opponent than CNU (27-3, 17-1 CAC). The Captains start the season ranked and have had the Sea Gulls’ number lately.

Despite their own losses, the Captains have retooled well, eyeing their third-straight CAC title. Last season, CNU made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.

It will be a tough test early on for the Sea Gulls, but the stretch will give fans a taste for where the team is at early in the season.

One thing to keep in mind during this campaign is that this team’s peak may not come until January and February, which is exactly where a coach wants it to have postseason success.

“You want to try and get better every day. If you look at last year, we probably could have beaten anyone in December,” Sachs said. “But [this year] if we’re playing our best basketball in February and everybody is healthy, you better not sleep on us.”

Missed opportunities cost Salisbury football Regent’s Cup

By ZACH GILLELAND

Sports Reporter

@_zachariahg

In past memory, the Regent’s Cup had been a one-sided affair, with Salisbury winning 12 consecutive games from 2004 to 2015. But with Frostburg State Head Coach Delane Fitzgerald taking over the helm in 2014, the rivalry has seen more competitive, close contests.

Fans were treated to another instant classic in Sea Gull Stadium Saturday, with the Bobcats taking down the Sea Gulls in a defensive slugfest 14-7 in double-overtime.

The last time the two teams faced, it was Frostburg coming away with their first Regent’s Cup trophy since 2003, with quarterback Connor Cox connecting with Russell Neverdon on a 14-yard strike with a minute remaining to give FSU a 21-17 victory.

Two seasons ago it was the 51-yard completion to Isaiah Taylor on fourth-and-15 that set up the game-winning touchdown from Ryan Jones to Taylor that capped off a 20-point comeback in the fourth quarter.

Saturday’s match-up was a different game for the two teams. Both offenses came into the contest averaging over 30 points a game, with Frostburg hosting the NJAC’s top passing offense and Salisbury possessing the conference’s top rushing attack.

On a cold, cloudy Veteran’s Day, the final home game of the 2017 season offered a chance to reflect on the senior’s memories while wearing maroon and gold for one final time at Sea Gull Stadium.

“They definitely laid the foundation and continue to lay the foundation for what we are all about as a program,” SU Head Coach Sherman Wood said. “I told the young guys, ‘you will not know the moment until it happens.’ I just told them to know what they are filling.”

Senior super back Malique Pratt had one of his finest games of the season. The senior got Salisbury on the board early in the fourth quarter with a 47-yard touchdown run that tied the game and seemingly rejuvenated the SU faithful. Pratt, who took over the starting job earlier this season, led the Sea Gulls with 75 rushing yards on only nine carries.

“I just love my brothers man,” Pratt said. “I wouldn’t trade this team for anyone else, I just wish I had more time.”

The only score for SU in the game, the story on Saturday were the missed opportunities. Senior slot back Brady Curley all but tied the game in the third quarter with a 58-yard touchdown run, but an illegal shift negated the would be scoring play.

Frostburg found the end zone first early in the second quarter with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Cox to Sergio Andino, the wide out’s 10th receiving touchdown in six games. Salisbury’s Dakari Ellis looked to have a chance at an interception after undercutting the route, but the ball sailed over his head and was tipped by Andino, who made a one-handed diving catch.

The Bobcat defense swarmed the Sea Gull triple option offense, holding SU to 272 yards of total offense. Frostburg’s lethal pass rush was on display, allowing Salisbury’s Brandon Lewis to complete just two passes on eight attempts. Bobcat defensive lineman Zach Strand contributed three sacks and the team had seven tackles for loss.

Fumbles continued to be a problem for the Sea Gulls, who coughed up the ball seven times, losing three. A sloppy afternoon for both offenses, the two teams fumbled the ball a total of 10 times and threw two interceptions.

Salisbury had an opportunity late to put the game away. Driving deep into FSU territory with a minute remaining in regulation, the offense looked to get into field goal range for senior kicker Alex Potocko.

With 18 seconds left, Lewis rushed for a two-yard gain that put the ball on the Bobcat’s 20 yard-line, but an unsportsmanlike penalty from senior wide receiver Brad Rose pushed the Sea Gulls back 15 yards, turning the would be 35-yard field goal into a 50-yard attempt.

The field goal attempt was short, sending the game into overtime.

Missed chances highlighted the first overtime period. FSU’s Josh Washington intercepted a Lewis pass and gave the Bobcats a chance to win the game. Hassan Mostafa set up for a game-winning 34-yard field goal attempt, but was blocked by Ellis.

It was Cox, who led Frostburg on a game-winning drive a season ago, who would send the Bobcats to their second-straight Regent’s Cup win. The junior scrambled on third-down, evading the Salisbury pressure to find tight end Christian DiPaolo all alone for a 27-yard touchdown.

The Sea Gulls tried to answer, but a fumble by Pratt ended the SU attempt.

An emotional, intense game, both teams were flagged a total of 28 times for a combined 332 penalty yardage.

“We have a lot of young guys that just got caught up in the moment,” Wood said. “It’s an emotional game, both teams look forward to it and we just got the raw end of the stick.”

The win propels Frostburg to a possible at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. Salisbury will wait and see as to whether their resume is good enough for a bowl bid.

“We hurt ourselves,” Wood said. “We took ourselves out of a victory.”

Regents Cup rivalry is renewed Saturday

By Ethan Wilt

Staff Writer

@Ethan__Wilt

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Salisbury hoists the Regents Cup after a 28-27 win vs. Frostburg State in 2015. SU Athletics photo

What: Salisbury Football (RV) hosts No. 16 Frostburg St.

Where: Sea Gull Stadium

When: Saturday at 1 p.m.

How to Watch: Sea Gull Sports Network

On Saturday, Salisbury looks to start another streak against their longtime rivals Frostburg State. Falling to the Bobcats last year 21-17, Salisbury’s 12-game winning streak in the rivalry came to an end. With a New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) title out-of-reach, Salisbury (7-1 NJAC, 7-2) looks to finish the season on a high-note, while Frostburg (7-1 NJAC, 8-1) continues to be in the hunt for an NCAA Playoff spot.

Salisbury

With consistency year in and year out, the Sea Gulls are always a tough match-up for visiting teams with their explosive players on offense, a stout defense and a special teams unit with a knack for making plays. With a strong team in Frostburg, Salisbury will have to be playing at the top of their game.

Offense: The Salisbury offense is largely one dimensional with the triple-option, not even attempting 100 passes on the season. They rely on the legs of their quarterback, senior Brandon Lewis, as well as senior super backs Malique Pratt and Dandre Dennis.

While one dimensional, this has done nothing to inhibit the Sea Gull offense. Salisbury is ninth in the nation in rushing, averaging 295.4 yards on the ground with 5.1 yards per carry. With that in mind, the Salisbury option offense has been dominant this season.

Defense: While the offense continues to run, run, run, the Sea Gulls’ defense has developed into a true star unit for the most part this season. Last week’s game against Wesley is the first time a Salisbury opponent has cracked 20 points since the first game of the season at Albright.

The defense consistently holds teams under 100 yards rushing and 200 yards passing. Salisbury also possesses a strong ‘bend-but-don’t-break’ mentality, allowing 12.4 points-per-game (second in the NJAC, 16th in the nation). The low amount of points allowed is also a tribute to their 55 percent red zone defense, seventh best in Division III.

Staying fresh has also not been an issue, as the Sea Gull offense averages 32 minutes of possession a game, not allowing the defense to tire out.

Keys to the Game: Salisbury needs to maintain a potent rushing attack, or do something they have not done all season: pass the ball. That was a necessity vs. Wesley last week, but SU completed only 4-of-16 passes in the contest.

Frostburg comes into Saturday’s matchup with the top rushing defense, not allowing over 60 yards per game this season good for sixth best in the country. With a reliance on the ground game, Salisbury could get stuck with a lack of production out of their run option.

If they can get Lewis going in the passing game, however, the offense should be able to get enough opportunities against the Bobcats.

Player to Watch: Senior Quarterback Brandon Lewis

Lewis really needs to shine in order to win against Frostburg. Using both his arm talent, and his skill at weaving between defenders on the ground, he will have to put this game on his shoulders Saturday.

In this top-3 NJAC battle, this is going to be a tough match-up, without factoring in the history between the two teams. Each team is going to want this win badly, but with Salisbury playing well at home this season with a 4-0 record, it’s their game to lose.

Frostburg State

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SU holds a 27-17 advantage in the overall series. SU Athletics photo

Frostburg comes into Sea Gull Stadium in a similar position to Salisbury within the conference and is looking ahead to potential playoff opportunities. With the potent rushing attack of the Sea Gulls, the Bobcats will face quite the challenge this Saturday.

Offense: Compared to Salisbury’s one-dimensional offense, the Bobcats are much more dynamic on offense. Not only are they averaging almost 170 yards per game on the ground, but they add almost another 270 yards passing on top of that.

Experience in the pass game has been a key to that success. Throwing to a very deep receiving core is junior quarterback Connor Cox. Despite not starting in the team’s 17-14 win vs. Kean last week, Cox is expected to be back after being banged up over the course of the season.

The Davidson, Md.-native is 27 passing yards from 2000 for the season and leads the NJAC in total offense per game with 263.1 yards. Coz is familiar with playing in Salisbury, nearly leading the Bobcats to a win two years ago in the same venue.

Defense: The Frostburg defense really matches up well with Salisbury’s offense. The Bobcats lead the conference in rushing defense, allowing 57.3 yards per game.

While Salisbury’s defense stays fresh because of their offense’s time of possession, Frostburg’s does just as good of a job and their defense stays just as fresh. Their defensive line play is excellent led by senior defensive lineman Niles Scott who totals 14.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks in 2017.

Their defensive backs are on the attack as well led by junior Josh Scales, leading the team in tackles and fumble recoveries. However, the unit has been porous through the air, seventh in the NJAC in pass defense.

Keys to the Game: This offense seems to breathe through their upperclassman quarterback Cox. Play well against the Salisbury secondary that has given up big plays this season, and they could be well on their way to a win.

However, if he falters, the Sea Gull defense can focus in on running back Jamaal Morant, and the run game. Then, they won’t be leaving Sea Gull stadium with a ‘W.’

Player to Watch: Frostburg’s defensive line

With Salisbury counting on their ground game, Frostburg’s defensive line will play a large role in deciding the success of Lewis, Pratt and their explosive read option. A victory for them will be decided in the trenches between a young, bruised Salisbury offensive line and Scott and the Bobcats.