Difficult roads await Salisbury, Stevenson
The Division III bracket for the NCAA tournament was unveiled late Sunday night, and a sleepless night or two might visit Salisbury coach Jim Berkman and Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene.
The Sea Gulls (17-1), the Capital Athletic Conference tournament champions who are ranked No. 1 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, might perhaps have the tougher path to the South region final.
They get a bye in the first round, but could face an Endicott team (15-4) that tagged reigning national champion Tufts with one of its two losses. A third-round meeting with Dickinson (16-1) beckons before a potential Final Four meeting with Stevenson.
“I’ve been in this thing for 23 consecutive years and believe me, we’ve had a couple lucky draws and we’ve had some draws where it was like, ‘Man, why did we win all these games? It’s harder now than if we wouldn’t have won them,’” Berkman said Monday. “But the bottom line is, to be national champs, you’ve got to beat everybody in that given year. That’s what the national champs do, they take on all comers.”
Stevenson (17-2), ranked No. 3 in the USILA poll, could meet No. 7 Roanoke (14-3) or No. 12 Gettysburg (11-6) for the right to advance to the South region final.
“I thought it was pretty fair where we were seeded,” Cantabene said Monday. “In other years, we’ve had to play three top-10 teams in each round. So I think it was fair. I don’t have any complaints about it. You’ve got to beat somebody, and I think we’ve got some pretty quality teams in our half of the bracket. So we’re going to have to play well.”