Salisbury at Washington: Three things to watch
It’s another installment in the annual "War on the Shore" series. The Sea Gulls have won 10 of the past 11 meetings, including the last eight. But Salisbury doesn’t look nearly as invulnerable as in previous seasons, and the Shoremen are eager to get their first victory in the series since May 4, 2002. Here are a few developments that could intrigue me as I watch from Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium in Chestertown.
1) There’s no glaring thread that weaves together the Sea Gulls’ three losses this season. Two of those were one-goal varieties, while No. 3 Stevenson pulled away in the second half of its 12-8 win. Salisbury, however, is winning easily when its first midfield line is being productive. Senior Kylor Berkman (35 goals and 39 assists), junior Mike Von Kamecke (22, 14) and freshman Sam Bradman (14, 18) are a dangerous group. But that trio was limited to two goals and two assists in the setback to Stevenson and two goals and three assists in the loss to St. Mary’s. Their play could extend Washington’s defense and open spots in the offensive zone.
2) Washington's offense has struggled at times this season, and the inability to score goals is most apparent in the team’s five losses. The Shoremen have scored just 26 goals in the setbacks to Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall, Gettysburg, Haverford and Washington & Lee, and the team was outshot in each contest except against Haverford. Gettysburg and St. Mary’s were efficient against the Sea Gulls, scoring at a 40 percent clip, but the Shoremen can’t hope to be efficient. They need to unleash a barrage of shots to test goalie Johnny Rodriguez and put the pressure on the Salisbury defense.
3) For both Salisbury and Washington, offense is based on possessions, and one root for possessions is faceoffs. Sea Gulls junior Ryan Finch and Shoremen senior Thayer Damm are ranked in the top 25 in Division III in win percentage. Finch actually played very well in the team’s three losses, winning 35 of 62 (56.5 percent) of his faceoffs and he finished below 50 percent only against St. Mary’s. Damm won 44 of 84 faceoffs in Washington’s five losses, but he went below 50 percent in setbacks to Franklin & Marshall, Haverford and Washington & Lee. The battle at the "X" should be an interesting microcosm of the overall contest.