When reigning national champion Salisbury opens a semifinal contest of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament against Mary Washington this Saturday at Sea Gull Stadium, 10 days will have passed since the team’s last game – a 7-6 setback to then-No. 12 Washington College on April 17.
Coach Jim Berkman is hoping that the Sea Gulls (13-4), who slipped from No. 5 to No. 7 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll because of that loss to the Shoremen, will still be sharp when they take the field Saturday.
“I hope we don’t have any rust,” Berkman said Thursday morning. “I know we’re anxious to play again because we’ve been beating on each other for a week now and we’ve got two more days before we play again. So I know they’re anxious to play again.”
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The players practiced hard Monday and Tuesday, but Berkman gave them the weekend and Wednesday off to rest their legs and help some players heal some nagging injuries.
“We just had a couple aches and pains, a strain here and a strain there,” he said. “Nothing too serious, but some time off and not having a game hopefully has got everybody close to full strength for this Saturday. … We’ve also been trying to put a couple new little wrinkles in. We’ve just been trying to stay sharp. We’ve been shooting a lot in practice that we maybe got away from because we were in game prep for so many games in a short period of time.”
Salisbury, the top seed in the conference tournament, will meet a fifth-seeded Eagles squad that improved to 9-6 after knocking off No. 4 seed Frostburg State, 11-6, Wednesday night. That might play into the Sea Gulls’ favor as they will have been well rested and playing at home.
“Supposedly that’s one of the advantages of getting the bye,” Berkman said. “But that was a big win for [Mary Washington], coming back and beating them and they had just lost to them a week ago. They came back and won up there and that’s two long trips in a week up there. So I’m sure they’re kind of on a high from the win yesterday. Hopefully, we’re going to play well Saturday and advance.”