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.

Takeaways from the 2017 campaign: SU men’s soccer

By CHRIS MACKOWIAK

Sports Editor

@cmackowiakSGSN

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Eiben sends a pass off down the field vs. Misericordia as the SU bench looks on. Sept. 16. Hannah Wichrowski photo

The penalty kick. It is one of the most suspenseful moments in all of sports.

One person standing at a spot where one score or one miss can define a season or a legacy.

As miniscule as some of the moments at the spot were for the Salisbury men’s soccer team in 2017, the final moments were some of the most impactful. Success at the spot changed the tide in many matches including the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) first round.

After drawing 1-1 following 90 minutes and two overtime periods, the fifth-seeded Sea Gulls went to penalty kicks vs. the fourth-seeded York (Pa.) Spartans. Following 10 grueling rounds at York, SU prevailed 8-7 on a save from SU junior goalkeeper Trevor Brookhart.

That penalty kick victory got Salisbury to the conference semifinals for the first time under second-season Head Coach Alex Hargrove. It was a season of firsts for the program now under Hargrove: his first conference playoff appearance and first playoff victory.

While it is not the conference titles the program is used to seeing like in 2015, it is progress in the right direction for a program that Hargrove is still making his own and still learning from.

After failing to make the CAC playoffs in 2016, the program could only build up and so they did, bringing in 16 new faces from the crowd.

The youth that marked the 2017 squad as inexperienced, might be an advantage in 2018. Despite losing a very strong senior class at the end of this season, a core is there to improve on in the future.

Hargrove learning, adapting

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Hargrove (left) gives instructions on the field during a substitution vs. St. Mary’s (Md.). Oct. 4, 2017. Emma Reider Photo

Taking over with a senior-heavy class, 2016 was a rough start for Hargrove in his first season, missing out on the conference playoffs. Little consistency aided the former SU midfielder.

Due to the large departure of seniors, the head coach had some flexibility headed into his second season in which he revamped over half the squad with an influx of youth.

2017 displayed a similar start to his first season, losing five of their first six matches for an early 1-5 record. However, four of those losses were 1-0, showing a steady defense with lacking offense.

A good sign of a coach is one that is not stubborn, but instead adapts to a given situation in order to succeed.

That is exactly what Hargrove did.

Following their 3-2 overtime loss at Washington College, Salisbury switched their formation to a back-three from their previous back-four. Utilizing an experienced defensive unit, this worked wonders by adding an additional man to the offensive front.

SU then bridged a four-game win streak into conference-play after that, not allowing more than a goal in any match for the rest of the season. The defense became the backbone for a sometimes struggling offense throughout the season.

With Salisbury becoming a streaky team in 2017, SU finished conference play with their best stretch of the season, going 3-0-2 which propelled them into the fifth-seed of the conference tournament.

It is a good lesson that staying stubborn and hoping for the best is not the best solution. Sometimes a coach must take the risk and make the change in order to reap the benefits.

Defense wins championships

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Sophomore defender Alex Eiben rushes down the field vs. St. Mary’s (Md.). Oct. 4, 2017. Emma Reider Photo

The key to the formation change part way through the season was the seasoned depth on defense. With multiple names returning from the 2016 squad, the defensive unit was certainly going to be a focal point of the team.

In the later back-three, senior backs Mike Kramer and Nick Carrington were looked to as the central leaders. The two were the only SU players named to All-CAC honors at the end of the season, both as second teamers.

One big surprise was the scoring prowess of Carrington over his career. While it was from the penalty spot, Carrington became the go to man for penalty kicks during his two starting seasons in the maroon and gold. He never missed a penalty kick in his SU career and paved the way for many key results down the line.

While fans knew what they were getting out of Kramer and Carrington, the answers out of the other members of the defense are what made the unit successful.

Sophomore defender Alex Eiben was one that improved greatly. Eiben got the opportunity to move into the right center back role of the new back-three and excelled at it.

He quickly became a regular in the starting 11 and showcased his recognized recovery speed on multiple occasions. Eiben also displayed his aerial ability with a goal in overtime vs. Catholic during the season.

In front of the back three, there were two holding midfielders typically. 2016 center back Colby Fell moved into that role in the new formation.

Fell found success in the area higher up in the midfield. However, now after two strong years at SU, he will be gone come 2018.

Potential players to lock up those defensive midfield spots could be freshman midfielder Beau Johnson or junior midfielder Robbie Budd. Both players ended up seeing extensive time at the positions.

Johnson emerged later in the season into a starting role, impressing Hargrove as a likeness to himself in his midfield playing days.

Overall, SU’s defense kept the team in games during many close matches. The unit has been a strength over the program’s history and continues to be. Headed into 2018, it will be an interesting topic to see who steps up to the task with known commodities Eiben, Johnson and Budd returning, and do not forget about their goalkeeper too.

And then there was one

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SU goalkeeper Trevor Brookhart grabs the ball from a Catholic forward and senior defender Nick Carrington. Sept. 27, 2017. Emma Reider photo

From the start of the season, one of the big question marks facing Hargrove and his staff was the starting goalkeeper position.

After Drew Staedeli took control of the position for a few years previously, and then Robert Fiackos and Dan Brennan started both as seniors in 2016, the position was wide open in 2017.

The positional competition started in camp with three players in the fold: sophomore Sam Roy, freshman Ben Gentry and finally junior college transfer Trevor Brookhart.

In the end it was Brookhart who stood out to the coaching staff, starting in the first day. Little was known about the junior goalkeeper before then, other than a one-year crossover with Fell at their respective junior college.

However, Brookhart would not let up that starting job.

The Eldersburg, Md. native cemented his role behind his veteran defenders, working five shutouts and nine matches of five or more saves. His 0.96 GAA and 79.6 save percentage were among the best in the conference, ending in player of the week awards.

As the season went on, an early question mark turned into a later advantage. That advantage and game experience may work wonders down the road into next season.

With multiple departures on the defensive line, Brookhart will be one of the surer things entering the 2018 campaign. He may be relied on for big plays and leadership next season even more than he was this time around.

Sophomore three

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Sophomore midfielder Dolph Hegewisch keeps the ball from St. Mary’s (Md.). Oct. 4, 2017. Emma Reider Photo

In a 2016 season that had more lows than highs, fans learned of a strong group coming to play for Hargrove in his first season at the helm.

Last season midfielders Dolph Hegewisch, Ryan Spadin and Matt Hawkins came on to the field to make an immediate impact. Hegewisch gained the most starts among the three at 10, eventually also getting All-CAC Second Team honors.

This time around all three players appeared in all 20 matches alongside combining for 46 total starts here in 2017. Spadin had the most points among the three with nine from three goals and three assists. The three attacking midfielders combined for seven goals.

Spadin was the one that saw the most dramatic shift in playing ability. The new formation suited is playing style as he was able to have a free-flowing motion moving from the deep midfield up the striker line.

Hawkins developed into a strong option at the wing on the outside offering speed, while Hegewisch continued to distribute the ball and create chances as he had in 2016.

In essence, this group of three represents progress in the Hargrove regime. With senior forward Brooks Zentgraf gone in 2018, they will represent the true barometer of the offense moving forward.

Just as sophomores, each player as notched numerous starts and points for their team. It is valuable experience for players that will be an integral part in getting the team’s goals-per-game average closer to two next season.

Overall, with the many new faces that Hargrove brought in to start 2017, this team will be generally young again come next season. However, there is a big difference between young and then young with experience. Down the line over the next two years, SU may be a deceptive roster.

With such an influx of youth, the team has gone through growing pains these two seasons, but things may finally pan out come next season. Despite a 3-0 loss to CNU in the CAC Semifinals to end the season, the team was streaking and streaking well to end the regular season.

That bodes well for confidence in 2018. So when 2018 rolls around, do not be fooled by youth that this team fosters. It may be the key to success for the next two seasons.

Salisbury-Wesley football rivalry runs deeper off-the-field

By CHRIS MACKOWIAK

Sports Editor

@cmackowiakSGSN

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2016: Wesley at Salisbury. Joey Gardner photo for SU Athletics

Salisbury University and Wesley College have battled in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) since 2007 when Wesley joined the Chesapeake regionally-based conference. While CAC sports have mostly gone the way of the Sea Gulls, the two schools have heated up a rivalry in a different sport, football.

Over the decades, Salisbury and Wesley have excelled in their own respective spheres, only recently participating in the same conference, the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). This has ignited a Delmarva rivalry with a close proximity and overlain recruiting grounds offering a basis.

“Wesley just doesn’t like Salisbury based on where they are. Salisbury just doesn’t like Wesley, for whatever reason. I can’t even explain it. It’s been that way for quite some time,” SU Head Football Coach Sherman Wood said.

Wesley has an overall 19-8 lead in the series dating back to 1986 with 10-game win streak from 2005 to 2014.

While Wesley is leaving the CAC at the end of the spring season, the battle on the gridiron has only recently been born into a new age as the schools continue to be conference opponents for football in the NJAC. The last two years, this NJAC game has helped to decide the conference champion.

In 2015, an SU field goal from Alex Potocko with two minutes left in the game provided the Sea Gulls with a 38-35 road upset of the Wolverines, providing Salisbury with a conference title in their first NJAC season.

One year later, Wesley struck back winning in Sea Gull Stadium 44-27 as the Wolverines paved their season from a 1-2 start into a deep NCAA Tournament run.

This time around the teams meet again towards the end of the season. Both teams are undefeated in the NJAC with Frostburg State waiting in the wings with only one loss.

“I think it’s great to have a Route 13 rival. I think it’s great for the community. I think it’s great for the fans. Obviously, the additional reason that this game is kind of heated is because most of the time both teams are vying for some postseason recognition. You want to play your best for all those reasons,” Woods said.

While the battle on the field will certainly be one to watch as a top-25 match-up, the mindset off-the-field is what makes this recent rivalry so interesting.

On the Salisbury roster, seven players are from the state of Delaware. Two of those players have a close proximity to Wesley as natives of Dover, Del., where the college is located.

Those players are both starters in senior punter Tim Steindl and sophomore center Tyler Rosello.

“A lot of those players know each other. Obviously that can be a little competitive, a little emotional as far as playing against each other. Obviously the proximity is a big deal,” Wood said.

Each with familiar friends on the opposite side of the football field, the two have grown up through football seeing the impact of the Wesley program. It is a very unique experience for Rosello.

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2016: Wesley at Salisbury. Joey Gardner photo for SU Athletics

Last season, Rosello did not see much playing time against the Wolverines last season. This time he certainly will as the starting center for starting quarterback Brandon Lewis.

“[Josh Lipowski] enabled me to play center by moving to tackle, which I appreciate. Last year I traveled and played some games. Brandon and I during practice and when we did play were center-quarterback [combo],” Rosello said.

“Him and I developed that relationship last year and just got better over spring.”

Whether he was at center for Lewis or another offensive line position on Saturday, this game and rivalry certainly takes on a different meaning for a player with deep familial ties at the Dover college.

Rosello says that his uncle was a three-time All-American nose guard at Wesley, displaying that there is definitely some Wolverine blood somewhere in his veins. The Sea Gull’s offensive line coach for four or five years of his development also featured as an all-American with the Wolverines.

“We’re a really big family where I come from, so most people I know went to Wesley. The starting nose guard there played next to me on the offensive line in high school, so it’ll be a nice high school battle there,” Rosello said.

Growing up in central Delaware, Wesley seemed to be an obvious choice for the future collegiate offensive lineman, but some factors changed that decision.

Just like with any other future college student, several factors came into Rosello’s decision as he narrowed his schools to Salisbury, Wesley and Gettysburg College. He felt a connection on the Salisbury campus, but his father also pushed him to take the college-experience.

“I wanted a good academic institution and I wanted to get away from home a little bit. [Salisbury] is far enough, but not too far. It worked out in the end,” Rosello said.

“My dad was really big on me coming to [Salisbury.] He wanted me to have a college life. He didn’t want me to live at home and go to Wesley, which is two minutes away from my house.”

That one decision three years ago places the offensive lineman across the Maryland state border for this NJAC rivalry. As a Sea Gull among a pack of Wolverines, Rosello has fun with it.

He enjoys seeing his former teammates, but of course there is a contrast on and off-the-field.

“This year is going to be really interesting because obviously we travel there. I’m going against a three-year high school friend of mine who I played with,” Rosello said.

Rosello says that his family plans on throwing a tailgate around the game with both Wolverines and Sea Gulls invited. It is a perfect example of the comradery of football with slice of competition involved.

While Salisbury has ‘rivalries’ across many sports with many successful Division III schools, this one is unique. It is a battle of the Delmarva Peninsula for Division III football dominance each season.

Just like any rivalry, bloodlines run deep and display a uniqueness unlike anything else with about 60 miles separating the Wolverines and Sea Gulls, or just a dinner table.

Sea Gulls advance to CAC FH finals after thrilling OT win

By CHASE GORSKI

News Editor

@cgorski12

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Salisbury celebrates their game-winning goal vs. York (Pa.). Nov. 1. Emma Reider photo

Down but not out, the Sea Gulls field hockey team erased a one-goal deficit twice to come away with a thrilling overtime victory over York College of Pennsylvania in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Semifinals.

SU freshman defender Camryn Dennis sent the Spartans home with her second goal of the night, giving SU the 3-2 win.

Initially it was the Spartans that had the advantage, dominating possession from the start of the game leading up to their first goal.

An unassisted shot from near the top of the circle by junior forward Lindsay Nye gave the Spartans an early 1-0 lead and put the Gulls on their heels.

The first half goal was the first goal SU had allowed in almost a month since their game against Catholic on Oct. 14, as well as their first goal conceded in the CAC playoffs since 2015.

As the first half wore on and both teams traded opportunities, it was Salisbury that started to settle into their offense and make plays happen.  On their third penalty corner of the half, the Gulls were able to capitalize off the stick of Dennis.

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Assisted by senior forward Nicole Lindner, Dennis deflected the ball into the goal to equalize in the thirty-first minute. SU rode this momentum into the second half to maintain the 1-1 tie, but knew changes had to be made.

“We realized in the second half that we needed to pick it up or this would be our last game,” Lemanski said.

Coming into the second half the Sea Gulls produced many opportunities, but again it was the Spartans that were able to find the back of the cage first.

After SU senior goalie Tressie Windsor dove out to make a save, the ball trickled past her and senior forward Autumn Mallory put a shot past two defenders for her conference-leading nineteenth goal.

“[Windsor] got in her own head a little after the first goal,” SU Head Coach Dawn Chamberlin said.  “She just wasn’t as sharp as she normally is.”

After going down 2-1, the Sea Gulls started to make a turn offensively and created some better shots within the circle.  Windsor did not have to make a save the rest of the second half as the Gulls fell into their groove and dominated the offensive possession.

“They really brought it today I think they were a whole different team than they were in season,” sophomore defender Jillian Hughes said.  “But we matched it, every goal they had we picked it up even more after.”

Hughes was at the forefront of a physical match-up all night with both teams receiving yellow cards throughout the match.  Hughes had one of her own at what seemed to be a crucial point for the Gulls down 2-1 late in the second half.

“The foul was accidental, I really didn’t mean to but it happens…I’m kind of known for cards during this season,” Hughes said.  “They really made up for me when I went out though.”

With under 17 minutes to go Salisbury got their chance to tie the game once again while Hughes was still serving her five minutes.

A shot from sophomore midfielder Arielle Johnston rebounded and fell to the feet of junior forward Emily Lemanski.  Lemanski fired a shot off Spartan goalie Sam Keating and into the goal to bring the Gulls even at 2-2.

Lemanski, who totaled five shots in the game, was a constant pest for York defenders throughout the game with her dribbling skills, and after a few missed chances early on she was finally able to finish.

“It felt awesome, we were down so we really needed it and it just changed the momentum of the game,” Lemanski said.

The Sea Gulls did not stop there, pressing on the attack and creating three more chances forcing Keating to make some key saves for the Spartans, including one at the very end of regulation.

The back and forth game that took place in regulation was much different from the regular season match-up between the two teams, in which the Gulls traveled to York and came away with a 3-0 win.  Coach Chamberlin knew before this game going against a heavily offensive team that they would have to score just as much.

“I was very proud of the way we were able to match them every time they scored we were able to put one in,” Chamberlin said.  “In overtime I said ‘you can’t do that anymore, the first one to score is going to win this game so we have to take the lead.’”

The Sea Gulls did just that.

After a suspenseful eight minutes of seven-on-seven overtime with both teams showing fatigue, Salisbury found themselves another chance in the form of a penalty corner.

“We have some pretty good shooters up top, we are always really confident in them,” Lemanski said.

The game-winning goal showed exactly why Salisbury has such confidence in their shooters off of penalty corners.

Senior forward Natalie Wilkinson took the penalty corner and guided a pass towards the top of the box to Dennis, and Dennis left no doubt with a rip past Keating into the back of the goal for the victory.

“When [Dennis’] shot is on its on, we just have to make sure it stays low,” Coach Chamberlin said.  “That was a rocket and she found that corner, and that’s why we called it.”

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After a long fought battle, the Sea Gulls walked away with the win, which was all Dennis wanted to focus on.

“We were down and we weren’t playing together, we just dug a little bit deeper and we got what was most important to us,” Dennis said.  “It feels so great.”

After their victory, the Sea Gulls will travel to face No. 1 seeded Christopher Newport University on Saturday in the CAC Championship. While Coach Chamberlin wants to enjoy this win, she knows what they need to do to get ready.

“We played a little tight tonight, and we can’t do that on Saturday we have to come out and bring our A-game,” Chamberlin said.  “We lost to [CNU] earlier this year and we didn’t play well at all, so we have to strive to bring our best game and leave it all on the field.”

SU men’s and women’s soccer prepare for CAC Semifinals

By ZACH GILLELAND

Sports Reporter

@_zachariahg

The Salisbury men’s and women’s soccer teams are just one win away from heading to the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Championship game. The Sea Gulls staved off elimination in the first round, defeating York and Penn State – Harrisburg.

After disappointing seasons a year ago, both teams headed into each of their tournaments unbeaten in their previous two and three games respectively. Below, The Flyer analyzes each team’s match-ups coming Wednesday evening.

Women’s Soccer: at No. 3 Frostburg State (Wednesday, 6 p.m.)

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SU goalkeeper Hope Knussman rises for a save. SU WSOC vs. Penn St. – Harrisburg. Oct. 29, 2017. Emma Reider photo

Following a 1-6 start to the season, the Sea Gulls (10-9, 8-2 CAC) head into the tournament as the third seed. SU shut out the Lady Lions 3-0 for the team’s first win in the postseason since 2013 and will travel to Frostburg, Md. to face the two-seeded Bobcats. Frostburg defeated Salisbury 1-0 on Oct. 21, holding the Sea Gulls scoreless on 13 shots.

The SU offense has scored nine goals in its previous two contests after being shut out by CNU and FSU. Senior forward Ruthie Lucas has scored three goals in those wins, and her 11 goals on the season are fourth in the conference.

That Sea Gull offense will be tested early and often by the Bobcat defense that allows just 1.07 goals-per-game. Led by a two-goalie rotation, Frostburg has recorded clean sheets in its past four games.

A defensive battle could be in the mix as both teams sit third and fourth in the conference in goals-against average (GAA). The offenses will be relied upon by the strikers, as Lucas and Bobcats’ forward Brooke Shehade have combined for 21 goals on the season.

A wild card to the match-up is the loss of SU senior midfielder Carliane LaGuerre. The senior received a red card in the 78th minute of Saturday’s match against Penn State – Harrisburg. LaGuerre is an important playmaker in the middle of the offensive formation, and her absence will force SU Head Coach Kwame Lloyd to turn to his bench.

Men’s Soccer: at No. 1 Christopher Newport (Wednesday, 5 p.m.)

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SU defender Alex Eiben (No. 12) celebrates with midfielder Dolph Hegewisch following his game-winning goal vs. Catholic. Sept. 27. Drew Williams photo

Heading to Newport News, Va. for the second time this season, the Sea Gulls (8-8-3, 4-3-2 CAC) face the top-seeded Captains (13-2-1, 8-0-1 CAC). Salisbury was the only team in the CAC that did not lose to CNU, drawing at one after a goal by SU midfielder Alex Eiben equalized the game in the 65th minute.

The Sea Gulls are fresh off a thrilling first round match-up against York. Falling behind after a Spartan goal, a penalty kick by senior defender Nick Carrington in the 58th minute tied the game.

Scoreless after two overtime periods, the game came down to penalty kicks. Gridlocked at seven in the shootout, SU junior goalkeeper Trevor Brookhart scored for himself and then saved a shot from York midfielder Aiden Wisley to send SU to the semifinal game.

Salisbury sees its second semifinal game in three seasons. Last season, the maroon and gold missed the playoffs a season removed from winning the CAC Championship.

CNU comes into the match unbeaten in its previous 13 matchups, shutting out four opponents. The defending CAC Champions are third with a 0.98 GAA.

Brookhart will again take a tough test, facing a Captain team that averages a conference-best 3.88 goals-per-game—nearly a goal and a half more than the next team. Leading CNU is the duo of Jimmy Grace and Stephen Durbin, who are second and third in the CAC with 13 and 12 goals respectively.

The Salisbury defense holds the lowest mark in the conference with a 0.89 GAA. Behind an experienced senior defensive unit, the SU defense allowed CNU to one goal for just the third time all season.

In what could be a defensive match throughout, the Sea Gulls may turn to Brookhart for another strong performance.

Flyer Sports Podcast: Sea Gulls enter conference playoffs

By CHRIS MACKOWIAK

Sports Editor

@cmackowiakSGSN

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Salisbury women’s soccer vs. CNU on Oct. 18, 2017. Emma Reider photo

After a weekend of final regular season chapters and first round conference playoff matches, sports editor Chris Mackowiak, sports reporter Zach Gilleland and news editor Chase Gorski sit down to discuss the recent results and path ahead for the Sea Gull Athletics including both in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) and SU football in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).

Men’s Soccer: Sea Gulls punch ticket to CAC Tournament

By ZACH GILLELAND

Sports Reporter

@_zachariahg

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SU sophomore midfielder Ryan Spadin fights for the ball vs. Catholic on Sept. 27, 2017. Emma Reider photo

Win and you are in. That was the story of a team Wednesday that seemed to be on the outside looking in a few weeks ago.

The Sea Gulls are heading to the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Tournament as the fifth seed.  

Facing Wesley (3-15, 1-8) for the final time in CAC play, Salisbury (8-8-2, 4-3-2) put on an offensive clinic, defeating the Wolverines 6-1 on Wednesday to punch their ticket to the CAC tournament.

An offense that ranked sixth in the CAC in goals-per-game with a 1.35 average, the six goals account for the most the team has scored this season. Five different Sea Gulls found the back of the net.

“Just a little more patience, swinging the ball from side to side a little bit and waiting for the right gaps to open up,” SU Head Coach Alex Hargrove said.

Following the win, Salisbury is now unbeaten in its last five matchups, going 3-0-2. A season in which the team struggled to find consistency, the final stretch included a draw against Christopher Newport and a 1-0 road win against fellow CAC Tournament hopeful Frostburg St. that helped solidify the team’s spot in the playoffs.

Missing the playoffs last season, 16 new faces joined a roster that has a mix of youth and veteran talent. Amid winning and losing streaks, Hargrove said he is pleased with the maturity of his young team.

“This was obviously a really young team to start the year,” Hargrove said. “There is a great leadership in every one of our five seniors who have been nothing but positive in reinforcing everything we have been looking to try and do across the whole season. Some of these young guys have matured an awful lot over the course of these 18 games and we are starting to see the realities of that as we go late into the season.”

Senior forward Brooks Zentgraf kicked off the scoring just three and a half minutes into the game. Fed by sophomore midfielder Ryan Spadin, the senior netted a left-footed shot from just inside the box.

The SU offense worked efficiently passing the ball throughout the match, registering an assist on five of their six goals. Spadin was at the forefront of the offensive attack, finding key passing lanes and high percentage opportunities inside the box.

Spadin has taken a starting role this season, starting 17 of 18 games this season after accumulating one start in 2016.

“He sees the field in a very different way,” Hargrove said. “He sees space, moves into it and finds it in a way that nobody on our team really does. His awareness once he gets into the attacking third is just something that is a little different compared to some of the other guys we have on our team.”

Freshman forward Joseph Scarpinato added his second goal of the season just four minutes late to increase the lead to two eight minutes into the match. Fellow freshmen Josh Woozly and Peter Gutoskey added their first career goals.

Sophomore defender Stephen White added two goals to tie him for the team lead. White’s four shots on the season have all connected for goals.

The Wesley defense struggled to contain Salisbury from finding open looks. Although only tallying 10 shots in the match, the Sea Gull offense worked efficiently getting through the Wolverine back line, working through-balls and creating space for the wingers to attack the ball.

“Pretty much everything [clicked],” Zentgraf said. “We had the forwards working with our midfielders, a lot of give and goes and obviously we had a 60 percent shot percentage so everything was clicking for us.”

A York (Pa.) win over St. Mary’s (Md.) means Salisbury clinches the fifth seed in the CAC Tournament. The Sea Gulls will travel to York to face the fourth-seeded Spartans on Saturday.

Which Sea Gulls will fly into the playoffs? The Conference playoff scenarios

By CHRIS MACKOWIAK

Sports Editor

@cmackowiakSGSN

With one major day of conference action remaining in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC), it is time for the annual fall conference playoff scenarios from The Flyer.

Wednesday will be the deciding day for many teams as only two Sea Gull squads have clinched conference playoff positions at the point in time. Salisbury men’s soccer and women’s volleyball will need a good result of their own plus help from other teams for certain possibilities.

For the CAC teams, the end draws near, but for Salisbury football in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC), three conference games remain with their season ending on Nov. 11. Therefore, much remains to become apparent for SU football.

Below The Flyer goes through football, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, field hockey and women’s volleyball to see what lies over the horizon headed into Saturday.

SU women’s soccer: 6-2, 18 points (8-9); currently sit in third place

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SU WSOC celebrates a goal vs. Catholic. Emma Reider photo

After a rough non-conference slate, Salisbury won their first six matches in CAC-play to turn their season around. However, two straight losses to Christopher Newport and Frostburg State made things a bit murky as to where the Sea Gulls will head in the conference playoffs.

Despite a loss to second-place Frostburg State (6-1-1 CAC, 7-7-2) on Sunday, SU is still only one point behind the Bobcats in the standings. After locking up either the two-seed or three-seed, Salisbury’s hopes lie with Southern Virginia (3-4-1 CAC, 6-8-2) to win against the Bobcats.

A Southern Virginia win paired with a Salisbury win at Wesley (0-8 CAC, 3-11-1) on Wednesday would put the Sea Gulls in second-place and a first-round bye into the conference semifinals.

If any other result occurs on Wednesday, Salisbury will be the third seed on Saturday, hosting one of many possible conference opponents. The good thing for Salisbury is that SVU is still in the playoff hunt and will have plenty to play for against the Bobcats this week.

SU men’s soccer: 3-3-2, 11 points (7-8-2); currently sit in sixth place

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SU MSOC senior forward tries to keep possession vs. Catholic on Sept. 27, 2017. Emma Reider photo

An overtime win on a Nick Carrington penalty kick was exactly what this team needed headed into the final game of the season. With the win, things opened up for the Sea Gulls including jumping back into the CAC playoff picture.

On Wednesday Salisbury welcomes in Wesley (1-7 CAC, 3-14) down U.S. Route 13 for their annual battle. It is a match that SU should win on paper, but anything is possible in the final game of 2017.

With Christopher Newport, St. Mary’s (Md.) and Mary Washington all locking up the top three seeds, Salisbury’s possibilities range from the fourth seed and hosting a first-round match to completely out of the playoffs. The only team with a chance to knock out the Sea Gulls is Frostburg State, sitting two points behind SU in the table, but Salisbury owns the tiebreaker with their win over FSU.

In essence, a win or a draw vs. Wolverines on Wednesday locks Salisbury into a CAC playoff spot. They would only be left out if they lose and Frostburg State wins at Southern Virginia.

Things get tricky when looking at the potential finishers in third through fourth though. York (Pa.) currently sits in third and Penn St.-Harrisburg sits in fourth with 13 and 12 points respectively.

A Salisbury win and losses by PSH and York would mean that Salisbury hosts one of those two schools in a CAC first-round match on Saturday. It is plausible to occur with those two schools playing teams in the top-three.

For anything else that occurs, Salisbury will end in the fifth or sixth positions for the playoffs, traveling to an opposing school. However, unlike a week ago, things are looking much brighter for the Sea Gulls to reach the CAC Tournament after missing it in 2016.

SU field hockey: 4-1 CAC (10-3); currently in second place

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Salisbury field hockey celebrates a goal vs. Johns Hopkins. Sept. 20, 2017. Hannah Wichrowski photo

The SU field hockey team is the only Salisbury squad that already has their seed locked in for the CAC Tournament. Salisbury will be the two seed when all is said and done.

Sitting at 4-1 in conference, Salisbury owns the tiebreaker over the team below them, York, while the team above them, CNU, holds it over the Sea Gulls.

While the game vs. St. Mary’s (2-3 CAC, 7-9) is of critical importance to the NCAA Tournament resume, the result will not influence the conference playoff picture. Look for the Sea Gulls to host the York Spartans (3-2 CAC, 11-4) in the CAC semifinals on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

SU women’s volleyball: 5-3 CAC (17-8); currently in fifth place

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SU libero Hailey Dougherty gets ready to serve vs. York (Pa.). October 20, 2017. Megan Campbell photo 

If the soccer conference playoff scenarios looked complicated, then fans should be impressed with what is coming out of the women’s volleyball picture.

First off, it is important to keep in mind that SU only has one conference game remaining at Wesley (2-6 CAC, 15-12) on Wednesday. Most of the other CAC teams have two matches remaining, to be played this upcoming weekend with the conference tournament starting next Tuesday.

That is what makes predicting this playoff scenario so tricky. However, if the Sea Gulls defeat Wesley, they will be in at some place in the seedings.

Other than CNU as the No. 1 seed, anything is possible from the final five playoff seeds. Just like the other sports, the two-seed would receive a bye into the conference semifinals, while the third and fourth seeds would host a first-round match on Halloween.

For Salisbury to get that elusive second-seed like they did last season, they would need to beat Wesley and have Southern Virginia and York both lose their final two matches. While this is a possibility, there is probably a low chance that it will.

There is a better chance for Salisbury to end up as the fourth seed, hosting a first-round match. This occurs if SU beats Wesley and Mary Washington goes 1-1 or 0-2 in their final two matches.

There is a lot to play out especially in this sport, but there will be a clearer picture Thursday.

SU football: 6-0 NJAC (6-1); currently tied for first place

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SU head football coach Sherman Wood talks with his team in the huddle. Jalil Dukes photo

For the only team not in the CAC, two weeks span ahead before fans will really know if Salisbury is competing for an NJAC title and an NCAA Tournament berth. After a dominant 42-0 win vs. Southern Virginia on Saturday, the team stay tied with No. 14 Wesley in the conference standings.

It looks as though the conference will come down to Wesley and Salisbury once again, like in 2015. With Wesley holding the tiebreaker via their win over No. 16 Frostburg State, the Bobcats sit in third with ways to get back in the title picture disappearing.

At this point like Wesley, Salisbury controls their own destiny in the NJAC with three games remaining. The Sea Gulls host Rowan (2-4 NJAC, 3-4) on Saturday, a game that SU should theoretically win on paper. The Profs defeated the Sea Gulls last season 34-30 in their only meeting.

After that, Salisbury enters the gauntlet of their 2017 schedule with back-to-back games to finish out the regular season against top-20 opponents. The first opponent is Wesley on Nov. 4 when the Sea Gulls will make the trip up U.S. Route 13 to face the perennial powerhouse.

That game will determine any aided importance to the Sea Gulls’ home Regents’ Cup game vs. Frostburg on Nov. 11 to finish out 2017. If SU can pull the ‘upset’ over the Wolverines on Nov. 4 like they did in 2015, that will set up a pseudo conference title game in Sea Gull Stadium on Nov. 11.

Obviously, there is much to be played out on the football field over in the NJAC.

In toughest stretch of CAC-play, SU VB splits on Homecoming weekend

By ZACH GILLELAND

Sports Reporter

@_zachariahg

Home for the first time in more than a month, the Salisbury University women’s volleyball team returned to Maggs Gymnasium to celebrate homecoming weekend. Friends, family and former Sea Gulls alike made the trip to Salisbury to participate in the festivities.

“The atmosphere was really awesome,” SU sophomore outside hitter Nicole Venturelli said. “We had the whole football team here and they were supporting us the whole time so it really helped to have them here.”

A rough start to conference play saw the Sea Gulls (13-7, 2-2 CAC) split their first two Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) match-ups against Southern Virginia and Frostburg State.

Facing perennial CAC foes in Christopher Newport and Mary Washington, the maroon and gold had an opportunity to get a key win to build momentum before the end of the regular season.

After dropping the first match-up to CNU Friday night, Salisbury defeated reigning CAC-Champion Mary Washington on Saturday.

Friday

Facing a top-25 opponent in the Captains, the Sea Gulls looked to avenge the loss that ended their season last fall in the CAC Semifinal game.

An intense back-and-forth match-up ensued in the first set. SU held an 11-10 lead early on and proceeded to win 11 of the next 14 points to take a 22-13 advantage. After a late CNU rally, a Venturelli kill and a Captain’s block that fell out of bounds propelled SU to a 25-19 first set victory.

“We executed our game plan pretty well,” SU head coach Justin Turco said. “It caused them to make adjustments that we have not seen them make this year and they made a few errors.”

The second set proved to be the closest of the night. With both teams deadlocked at 23 points apiece, the Captains took the second set after a kill by outside hitter Katie Pipper and an attack error by SU middle hitter Gianna Savarese.

Dimming the atmosphere after a close second set, CNU took the final two sets of the night, 25-16 and 25-18. Even with the loss, Turco was pleased with his team’s performance.

“I think we came out and battled,” Turco said. “I think the score did not represent how close the game actually was. We are close but we are not there yet and we just have to go back and work a little harder and get a little better.”

Venturelli and senior middle hitter Sydney Davis led the Sea Gulls with 10 and eight kills apiece. Sophomore setter Rachel Dubbs contributed 22 assists and defensive specialist Hailey Dougherty led the team with 23 digs.

Saturday

Rounding out the weekend, Salisbury faced Mary Washington, a team that defeated SU in straight-sets last season.

A different story for the defending CAC Champions, the Eagles entered Saturday with six losses just one year removed from a 31-4 record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals.

The Sea Gulls defeated the Eagles 3-1 to round out the weekend.

SU took the first set, using extra points to come away with a 31-29 win. Continuing back-and-forth and tied at 29, Salisbury won the set with consecutive kills from freshman Lacey Swartout and Davis.

Mary Washington answered, taking seven of the first eight points and coming away with a 25-19 second set victory.

Salisbury flipped the switch, taking nine of the first 10 points in the third set. The Eagles rallied to make it close, but SU pulled away with a 25-18 win.

The Sea Gulls took the fourth and final set 25-21. Tied at 21, the maroon and gold scored the final four points to win the match.

Dubbs had her strongest match of the season, contributing a season-high 34 assists. Venturelli led Salisbury with 19 kills. The junior leads the CAC with 314 kills and 4.24 kills-per-set.

Up next: The Sea Gulls will take on St. Mary’s (Md.) (3-15, 0-4 CAC) on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Video/Recap: Salisbury field hockey soars to first home win of 2017

By ZACH GILLELAND

Sports Reporter

@_zachariahg

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The SU field hockey team celebrates after a goal in their 3-0 win vs. Washington College. Emma Reider photo

Following its first home-opening loss in the new millennium to defending National Champion and first-ranked Messiah College, the Salisbury University field hockey team had an opportunity to hit the reset button after a nail-biting finish.

Facing fellow Eastern Shore counterpart Washington College, the Sea Gulls (3-1) used a dominant second half to take down the Shorewomen 3-0.

Salisbury had numerous opportunities on the offensive end in the first half, tallying 10 shots but only coming away with one goal.

That goal coming 10 minutes into the game off the stick of sophomore forward Arielle Johnston. The sophomore, on a penalty stroke, sent a laser low and right into the corner of the cage to give SU a 1-0 lead.

“We do [penalty strokes] in practice all the time and I know where I’m going every time,” Johnston said.

Washington College goalkeeper Morgan Domanico turned out a solid performance in the cage, saving seven shots in the first half and 11 in total. Salisbury consistently put up the shots, but SU head coach Dawn Chamberlin said the team could not finish their opportunities.

“I think we came out really flat in the first half,” Chamberlin said. “We didn’t have that intensity and passion that we needed to have and that showed in the fact that we only had one goal on the board.”

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The Sea Gulls picked up the intensity in the second half, peppering the Shorewomen defense with 14 shots. Five minutes into the half, sophomore forward Rachel Domanico found the back of the cage with an assist from Emily Lemanski.

The reigning Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Player of the Week’s fourth goal of the season extended the Salisbury lead to two.  Last season in her freshman campaign, Domanico tallied three goals in 16 appearences.

“Emily was coming around the baseline and I basically set up on the stroke line,” Domanico said. “We made eye contact and I connected the pass.”

Freshman forward Jenna Partilla put the Gulls up by three in the 54th minute. Lemanski’s shot from the left wing bounced off the post, allowing Partilla to collect the rebound and score.

The forward, who has started all four games this season, scored the first goal of her Salisbury career.

Washington College struggled on the offensive side, firing only three shots throughout the game with all coming in the first half. The Shorewomen had its best opportunities in the first half, but a few quick saves by SU goalkeeper Tressie Windsor kept them off the board.

Midway through the first half, a shot by Shorewomen forward Emily Pantazes beat Windsor but was saved by a diving Jillian Hughes. Hughes’ stick caught the ball just before it crossed the line and into the cage.

“It was about to go in and I tried as hard as I could for it not to go in,” Hughes said. “I got lucky, everyone got lucky.”

A mainstay in the defensive unit and part of a strong sophomore class for the Sea Gulls, Hughes has started all 24 games in her career.

A better performance for SU in the second half, the Sea Gulls did not allow a shot. The maroon and gold stayed in firm control of possession throughout the half and limited Washington College’s offensive opportunities.

“They were happy with their performance in the second half,” Chamberlin said. “We really showed what we are capable of doing but we’ve got to be able to play for 70 minutes, 35 is not going to cut it for us. We’ve got to come out strong from the start and continue and hold that intensity level for the entire game.”

UP NEXT: Salisbury travels to Radnor, Pa. to take on Cabrini University on Saturday at noon. The Sea Gulls defeated the Cavaliers 6-0 last season.

In post-game interview video, sports editor Chris Mackowiak assisted with camera operation.