When Salisbury and Washington College clash on Sunday night at Sea Gull Stadium in Salisbury for the right to play for the national title in Baltimore on May 26, each team will draw inspiration from a midfielder who has returned to his teammates.
Senior midfielder Greg Korvin (Arundel) sat out four games after separating both shoulders. After undergoing operations on both shoulders, he returned for the Sea Gulls’ 15-11 win against Cabrini on April 11.
In seven games, Korvin registered two goals and five assists before turning in a three-goal, one-assist performance in the team’s 15-5 rout of Denison in an NCAA tournament quarterfinal on Wednesday night.
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Coach Jim Berkman said a healthy Korvin (16 goals and 16 assists) should be significant for Salisbury (20-1).
“He’s been playing, but he’s been more like a role player – moving the ball, not leaning in and being aggressive on his dodges, not being able to shoot the ball because he hurt his shoulders,” Berkman said on Thursday. “He wasn’t able to do shooting drills at practice or anything like that. But now, he’s doing that. You see him ripping the ball. He’s close to full strength and that makes that first line more difficult to defend.”
Like Korvin, junior midfielder Grant Hughes has rejoined the Shoremen (18-1), but he will not be contributing on the field. Hughes broke his femur in the team’s 13-8 victory over Gettysburg on April 19.
With a steel rod surgically inserted and forced to use a crutch, Hughes has been relegated to bystander status. But he has been a valuable presence on the sideline for his teammates and coach Jeff Shirk.
“He said, ‘I can’t help on the field anymore, but how do I help motivate the guys?’” Shirk recounted. “He’s got a little thing where he’s standing out there and fist-bumping when guys are coming in. We have him on our sideline list for the tournament to where he’s a motivating guy. He stays in guys’ ears in a positive way. I think he’s really helped [sophomore midfielder] Sid Looney come into his own a little bit. I think Sid felt a little pressure of how Grant was the second-leading producer on the first midfield and now he had to go from the third-leading producer, and I think he took a lot of pressure off of Sid and helped give Sid a lot of confidence just by talking to him. Sid had seven goals in the Gettysburg game [in the Centennial Conference tournament]. He just kind of came out of his shell. Grant has really embraced his role. He helped us a great deal when he was a player, and he’s doing just as much for the team by being there on the sideline.”