Salisbury not taking Washington College lightly heading into 'War on the Shore'

Reigning national champion Salisbury has won the past 11 meetings and 14 of the last 15 with Washington College. But as the two sides prepare for the latest installment of the “War on the Shore” series Wednesday night in Chestertown, Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman said he and his players have no intention of overlooking the Shoremen.

“They’ve got a win over a team that beat us,” Berkman pointed out Monday. “They beat [Washington and Lee], 8-4, and we lost to W&L, 7-6. So they have a couple good wins on their schedule. They’ve won at St. Mary’s, they’ve beaten their other conference teams, and they beat a strong Ohio Wesleyan team, 8-7.”

Still, Salisbury (13-3) – which is ranked No. 5 in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll – has been on the winning side of this series and quite convincingly, too. Since Jeff Shirk took over the reins at Washington College in the summer of 2010, the Sea Gulls won, 17-3, in 2011 and 17-5 last year.

But that history has not diminished Shirk’s faith in the No. 12 Shoremen (10-2).

“To be honest with you, I thought we could’ve beaten them the last two years,” he said Monday. “It’s one of those things to where I don’t really look at it like that. I think we’ve got a very good team, and we’re trying to get over the hump from a mental standpoint of actually believing that we’re as good as we are. This would be a huge game, and I’m hammering that point home for us. But it’s one of those things where it’s a rivalry game, and we’re looking forward to it. We’re going to put our best foot forward and hopefully at the end of the day, it’ll be a better day than it was last Saturday [when the Shoremen lost to No. 2 Dickinson, 15-10].”