A rare early exit for Salisbury
The No. 2 Sea Gulls’ 11-9 loss to top-ranked Stevenson Wednesday in the NCAA Division III tournament quarterfinals wasn’t what you would label as a typical upset.
After all, Salisbury had dropped a 12-8 decision to the Mustangs on April 4, and this current Sea Gulls squad (16-4) had incurred more losses since 2002, when that team went 13-5. And after Salisbury had beaten Stevenson to capture the Capital Athletic Conference tournament title and the automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament, Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman acknowledged his the team had been in danger of being shut out of the NCAA tournament.
Still, Salisbury’s abbreviated stay in the NCAA tournament is a little surprising. It is the first time the program has not played in a tournament semifinal since 2002. And consider this: the Sea Gulls have played in 14 semifinals since Berkman became the head coach prior to the 1989 season. In those same 21 years, Salisbury has made 10 championship final appearances and won eight of those games.
The Sea Gulls’ loss also ended the career of Kylor Berkman. The reigning National Player of the Year and two-time Midfielder of the Year, Berkman finished his career ranked second on the school’s all-time list in career points (298) and assists (170) behind Jason Coffman (451, 202).