Jim Berkman laughed when asked if he sensed any relief from his players after Salisbury defeated Widener, 7-5, on Saturday. But the Sea Gulls coach conceded that getting a victory after back-to-back losses to No. 9 Lynchburg and unranked Washington & Lee provided the reigning national champion with some much-needed confidence.
“We played awful good on defense,” Berkman said Monday morning. “We held them down. We should’ve had more goals than seven though based on what I saw on film. We’re getting better on offense, but still have a ways to go.”
Coupled with last Wednesday’s 7-6 double-overtime setback to Washington & Lee, Salisbury (2-2) has scored less than 10 goals in back-to-back contests for the first time since 2011 when that squad beat Gettysburg and Ohio Wesleyan by scores of 8-2 and 8-4, respectively. The Sea Gulls – who will undoubtedly fall from the No. 1 spot in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association preseason poll when it is updated – graduated five of six starters on offense and seven of their top eight scorers, but Berkman said the players had their opportunities Saturday against the Pride.
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“Sometimes they took a shot that was high when it should’ve been low when they were putting themselves in an easy position to score,” he said. “A couple times, we had unforced turnovers. We had a bad decision on a fastbreak when it was three-on-two and we took a 12-yard shot instead of dumping the ball over the head for a one-yard shot. So there’s just a lot of little things that might have allowed us to score four or five more goals that we should have based on the number of possessions that our defense gave us.”
Salisbury won’t get much time to enjoy the win as the team must travel to meet McDaniel on Wednesday before welcoming No. 16 Gettysburg on Saturday. Berkman acknowledged that he wished the team had more time to practice rather than playing games.
“Because we have so many new guys on offense, having more practice time would be more of a benefit. But it is what it is,” he said. “We’ve got to play on Wednesday and then we’ve got to turn around and play Gettysburg on Saturday. We’ll have two real good practices here this week. I definitely saw some good things on offense in terms of our movement and spacing and everything else in the first half. That was exciting. Now we’ve just got to be more consistent and get it for a full 60 minutes instead of 30.”