Brady Dashiell and Jesse Rabishaw got a few minutes and a few runs in No. 5 Salisbury’s 13-7 victory over Ohio Wesleyan at the Landon School in Bethesda, but that was enough to satisfy – for now – a pair of former starters returning from injury.
Dashiell, a sophomore, had missed two games because of injuries to his arch and ankle. Rabishaw, a junior, also sat out two contests due to a sprained ankle.
While they didn’t regain their starting jobs, they did contribute in the win for the Sea Gulls (6-0). Dashiell, who shifted from attack to midfield, assisted on sophomore midfielder Thomas Cirillo’s first goal of the game midway through the season quarter, took one shot, came up with one ground ball, and committed one turnover.
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“It was definitely awesome getting back, but it was hard being out for a couple weeks and getting back into the groove, getting back into the system because you’re just there and you’re trying to build back up again, trying to get back to where you want to be,” said Dashiell, who posted 26 goals and 7 assists last year. “It was definitely good, definitely a good experience. I think I played well when I was in. It’s just good getting back on the field and being back with my boys.”
Rabishaw did not take a shot, but did collect two ground balls. Rabishaw, who recorded 12 goals and eight assists last season, understood that he must bide his time to breaking into a starting attack consisting of seniors Rhett DePol (10, 9) and Luke Phipps (12, 3) and junior Mike Kane (12, 2).
“The attack’s doing really well,” Rabishaw said. “So I’ve got to work my way back into the lineup and try to get some more time. This is all I could ask for right now.”
The two players had differing views on the amount of rust their games accumulated. Rabishaw said he got back into a rhythm during practice last week, but Dashiell conceded that he was still regaining his form.
“Was I rusty? Yeah, I was rusty, but I had a pretty good week of practice,” he said. “It’s just all about getting back to the actual game mode. I’ll be back for the next game.”
Now comes the difficult part for coach Jim Berkman, who must find a way to carve out playing time for Dashiell and Rabishaw without upsetting the chemistry in the starting attack and top two midfields.
“Right now, we’re just trying to figure out the whole chemistry thing because Luke Phipps has to be on the field because he’s got such a hard shot and he had two goals today with a chance for several more,” Berkman said. “Mike Kane has seized the moment for his opportunity. We’re trying to utilize that second group because Nate [Blondino], No. 22, is going to be a really good player. He’s a freshman, and he’s a really good player. We’re trying to give them two or three minutes a quarter to give the first guys a little bit of rest in a 60-minute game that they need and to try to give Brady a couple runs at the second midfield. But neither one has really practiced that much. They were right out in the beginning, and they all practiced just three times this week. So if we’re talking about the whole season, they have a week of practice in. So they’ve got to work their way back into it.”
* Salisbury senior goalkeeper Alex Taylor made 11 saves on Sunday, but he did not take top honors in that department. Ohio Wesleyan junior Ryan McMahon turned aside 13 shots, continuing a string of solid outings against the Sea Gulls. He made 17 stops in an 18-7 rout on March 10, 2012 and 20 saves in a 4-3 loss exactly one year later. McMahon’s play impressed Berkman. “Their goalie had some big saves,” Berkman said. “I think the saves were relatively even [with Taylor’s], but his saves were shots in front of his face versus shots coming from 12, 15 yards. He’s always given us a little bit of trouble. He had 20 last year. He’s a good goalie. He was guessing right for a while, and he’s just a good player.”
* Berkman said that senior faceoff specialist Chris Biank suffered what the coach called “a slight separation” of his shoulder in the fourth quarter of the team’s 11-9 decision against No. 16 Gettysburg on March 1. Biank is not expected to return for another one to two weeks, and his absence was felt as the duo of junior Michael Schiavone and sophomore Preston Dabbs combined to lose 16-of-22 faceoffs against Battling Bishops junior Sam Gioseffi. “Well, we were 6-of-22, so that’s like giving them 15 more possessions,” Berkman said. “I thought our kids though did a good job when they lost the faceoff in creating a little havoc. So even when they weren’t winning those, there were four or five that were turned right back over. Definitely, we need to get Biank back, but we do have a quality guy in Preston Dabbs who we haven’t wanted to use, but are going to go to now.” Dabbs, who won 2-of-4, was recruited out of high school as a faceoff specialist, but became more important as the team’s top short-stick defensive midfielder.
* Salisbury’s inability to win faceoffs was mitigated by its ability to force Ohio Wesleyan into turning the ball over and failing to clear the ball. The Battling Bishops committed 22 turnovers to the Sea Gulls’ 12 and misfired on 9-of-21 clears. Salisbury’s knack for pressuring Ohio Wesleyan while trying to clear the ball was somewhat of a surprise to Berkman. “I didn’t realize that we were so successful in the ride today,” he said. “They only cleared it 12-of-21 times. … That almost gets back what we lost on faceoffs in some ways. The guys did a nice job riding today.”