Salisbury at Stevenson: Three things to watch
The back-and-forth between these Capital Athletic Conference rivals resumes once again as No. 3 Salisbury (15-1) visits top-ranked Stevenson (16-1) for the right to be the conference tournament champion. In the previous two seasons, the winner of the regular-season meeting could not repeat that outcome in the CAC tournament final, and the visiting team captured the title. Will history repeat itself and usher in the Sea Gulls as this year’s tournament champion? Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Caves Athletic Complex in Owings Mills on Saturday.
1) Tokosch vs. Dailey. In last Saturday’s 16-12 victory, the Mustangs got three goals from leading scorer Jimmy Dailey, including two in a span of 106 seconds during a 5-0 run to begin the contest. According to Salisbury coach Jim Berkman, the defense countered by assigning senior Collin Tokosch, who limited the senior attackman to just one goal for the remainder of the game. “He obviously knows he’s going to be a big part of Saturday, and hopefully, we can keep Dailey in check or he can neutralize him a little bit to make him earn his goals,” Berkman said of Tokosch, who has caused 15 turnovers and collected 28 ground balls. “The two goals that he had at the beginning of the game, he flat-out burned [senior] Nick Mooney, and it was so quick that we couldn’t even help out on him. So we’re hoping that by switching Collin on him, that won’t happen, especially in the beginning of the game.”
2) Douglass vs. Bradman. Junior Sam Bradman, the reigning National Midfielder of the Year, registered one goal and three assists last Saturday, but his contributions were limited a 6-minute span stretching over the second and third quarters. The rest of the time, Bradman was guarded by Stevenson senior defenseman Evan Douglass. “It’s two of the best players in the country, and if we can control Sam and not give him too many great opportunities, I think that really helps our team,” Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene said. “But I thought Sam had a really good day the other day with some really good assists and drawing some fouls. It’s a good matchup with two great players going at each other.”
3) Granelli vs. Witte. Stevenson’s opportunity to jump out to a 5-0 advantage was aided by the play of senior Ray Witte, who won three of the first five faceoffs. For the game, he finished with 18-of-29 faceoffs. Sea Gulls sophomore Tyler Granelli did not play in the team’s 15-5 win against Mary Washington in a tournament semifinal on Wednesday, but Berkman said Granelli, who won just 8-of-25 draws, and freshman Chris Turner (3-of-5) must do a better job of keeping Witte in check. “We’ve got to neutralize Witte a little bit,” Berkman said. “… We’ve got to take the offense out of their faceoffs.”