Salisbury’s bid to capture its 11th national championship did not unfold as planned as the team dropped a 12-9 decision to Tufts in the Division III tournament final on May 25 at M&T Bank Stadium.
It was only the fifth time in 15 title-game appearances that the Sea Gulls failed to bring home the crown, but the result did not diminish coach Jim Berkman’s positive assessment of this year’s squad, which went 21-2 overall and 6-1 in the Capital Athletic Conference.
“I really enjoyed this team this year,” he said. “It was a really hardworking team, and they got better every day in practice. It was just exciting to see where we kind of ended up at the end of the season based on where we were at the end of February and beginning of March. We ended up improving every day. It was a really good group. I just really enjoyed this year.”
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Berkman pointed out that at the beginning of the season, the defense appeared to be the strongest unit on the team. But the offense began improving and as that unit took shape, the defense held down the fort and offered encouragement when it could.
“I just thought that we had everybody on the same page,” Berkman said. “We had a lot of kids pushing each other, good leadership that made people buy in. Sometimes good leadership just doesn’t happen. We really pushed the kids during their offseason training, but they grew closer and closer all the time. It was a real good group.”