Blogs and Commentary

 
posted 02.11.2013 at 10.01 a.m. by Jac Coyne

NCAA Division III Notebook

The Salisbury shot rang off the crossbar and bounded all the way to the midfield stripe. Seconds later, Greensboro's Scott Schowalter walked in all alone and put the Pride up, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon. So much for the Sea Gulls defense that allowed just five goals a game last year, I guess.

"It popped right into the kid's stick and he ran it in for a goal. It was crazy," said an incredulous Salisbury head coach Jim Berkman. "Then we got a goal, and it went from there."

Where it went was a 17-3 victory for the defending champs, but there was still some frustration early on in the game for the Gulls. The two teams were still tied at one goal apiece 10 minutes into the game, helped by five pipes hit by Salisbury and some inspired play by Greensboro netminder Mitchell Kanowicz (18 saves).

"That definitely grinds on you a little bit because we're doing things to get the good shots — and we're getting great shots — and the ball hits the pipe and comes out," Berkman said. "We were looking for the ice to break with all the new kids on offense."

The cracks Salisbury was waiting for appeared in the second half when a 6-1 halftime edge morphed into a 13-2 lead after three quarters. The game was never really in doubt, but there are still a lot of questions marks on offense.

"This year is going to be a work in progress on offense," Berkman said. "We still don't even know who are our attackmen are. If you look at the box score today, the kids who played better were the kids who were on the second and third attack a week ago. They outplayed some of the veterans and the kids who transferred in here."

Berkman was particularly impressed with the play of sophomore Wade Korvin (3g, 1a) and freshman Brady Dashiell (1g, 1a).

"They were our best two attackmen and they played virtually nil with the first team in practice," Berkman said. "But when the lights were on, they knew how to get to the goal and they made it happen."

As Salisbury preps for its trip to No. 7 Lynchburg this Saturday, the unknowns on offense are a serious concern for Berkman, but he's supremely confident with every other level of the field. While Alex Taylor was forced to make 16 saves against Greensboro, the Salisbury coach felt that was more a product of the close poles.

"If you take those 16 saves and I watch the film, I bet eight of them were kids passing him the ball because our guys got on the hands," Berkman said. "It was virtually like playing catch."

The overall effort was also helped by the faceoff prowess of Tyler Granelli, who finished his day with 14 wins on 17 draws.

"The questions all season long will be: is the attack going to develop, are they going to improve, are they going to be in the right place at the right time, are they going to read situations? The good thing is we have a good defense and a good goalie that will keep us in the game," Berkman said. "And if you watched the game today, we're pretty good at facing off. That gives us more opportunities to develop these young guys on offense and win some games on defense."

The 2012 season is long gone and the 2013 edition of the Gulls has a different look, but will the final results be different?

- Sometimes I get the sense that I'm the only member of the media that utilizes it, but the Centennial Conference's online media day, which was broadcast live on YouTube (and can be replayed here), was fantastic. It's an easy and cost effective way for coaches to field questions from both the media and fans, alike, and it only burns seven minutes at their desk. Congrats to Centennial commissioner Steve Ulrich for using current technology to his league's advantage and here's hoping that other conferences follow his lead next year.

- When was the last time that both Roanoke and Gettysburg were picked third in their respective conference's preseason polls in the same year? I'm going out on a limb and saying never. I'm not disagreeing with the ranking (especially since both were only one point out of second), but that's the kind of stuff that proud programs tape to the locker room door for the entire season...since '09, Dickinson is 47-1 when it keep its opponents below double-digits and 6-15 when they don't...the big snow storm in New England was probably an issue for a lot of D-III teams, but not for the NESCAC contingent. The division's top conference isn't allowed to have its first practice until Friday.

- Birmingham-Southern was clinging to an 8-7 halftime lead against Huntingdon, but the Panthers outscored the Hawks 12-3 in the second half to keep Alabama bragging rights...Aurora (Ill.) was the overwhelming pick to win the Midwest Lacrosse Conference...not surprisingly, Adrian was the top pick in the MIAA...tip of the day: don't call Gettysburg junior attackman Martin Manilla by the nickname 'Marty.' If you do, expect a spelling lesson from Bullets head coach Hank Janczyk...a win over Salisbury would have been preferential for Greensboro, but they'll get credit for playing the game when the Pool B bids are handed out...Carthage opened up with a 2-0 weekend, including a 9-6 win over Albion, which was picked second in the MIAA.