A week without a midweek game has been a boon for Salisbury, which is expecting the return of two starters and key contributor from last year’s team that went 17-6 and advanced to the NCAA tournament semifinals.

Sophomore attackman Brady Dashiell has been plagued by injuries to his arch and ankle that have limited him to three games, two of which he started. Senior short-stick defensive midfielder Tim Stone has yet to play this season because of a hip ailment, and junior attackman Jesse Rabishaw has played in three contests due to a sprained ankle.

Coach Jim Berkman said the Sea Gulls (5-0) – who dropped from No. 4 to No. 5 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll despite beating No. 16 Gettysburg, 11-9, on Saturday – are anticipating that all three will be able to play – however briefly – in Sunday’s game against Ohio Wesleyan (4-0) at The Landon School in Bethesda.

“We’re hoping that Tim is going to be able to give us a few shifts, which is kind of what we need from that third D-middie,” Berkman said Wednesday afternoon. “Brady’s probably going to rotate a little bit into the midfield just as he did last year at the beginning of the season. Jesse can give us a few minutes subbing in on attack.”

The absence of Dashiell and Rabishaw has opened the door for junior Mike Kane. The former midfielder has seized the opportunity by leading the offense in goals with 11 and ranking second in points with 13.

“Mike’s always been a kid who you always wondered if he was going to get it, and now he’s got it,” Berkman said. “He kind of gives us a presence of old Salisbury lacrosse. We’ve always been a team that had a great crease guy. When you look back at the kids on some of the great teams that we played, we had Erik Krum, Joe High, Danny Boyer. We always had a great crease guy, and we always played with a crease guy. We haven’t had a crease guy in the last two years, last year or even the start of this year. But Mike Kane got a few minutes, and boom, he scored goals. To Mike’s credit, he seized the moment and has given us that inside presence of a kid that knows how to score and how to get open and is willing to do the dirty work that a lot of attackmen don’t like to do in that little bubble.”

Sophomores Davis Anderson and Preston Dabbs have assumed their usual roles as short-stick defensive midfielders with sophomore Christian Ottenritter backing them up. But Berkman conceded that getting Stone back will provide a huge boost to the defensive midfield.

“Those guys started every game last year, and they’re warriors,” Berkman said of Anderson and Dabbs. “But there are some times in games when you have some turnovers and you get a lot of long possessions in a row, and that third D-middie, you kind of need that guy. Getting Timmy back with the experience that he has will really solidify that third spot.”