Despite the defection of Stevenson to the Middle Atlantic Conference, the Mustangs and Salisbury will meet in the regular season next year.
Both Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman and Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene confirmed that the former Capital Athletic Conference foes will resume their rivalry. Cantabene said the game is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, April 3 at Sea Gull Stadium in Salisbury.
Salisbury has won 10 of the 14 contests in the series including a three-game sweep this past spring. But since Cantabene assumed the Mustangs’ reins in 2005, they have registered four of the Sea Gulls’ eight losses over that same span.
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Both coaches said retaining the game on their respective schedules was a no-brainer.
“It’s a great game, and it’s an intense rivalry,” Berkman said. “It’s two really good teams meeting under playoff implications and strength of schedule. A game generates as much of a playoff environment as you can simulate.”
Added Cantabene: “The best teams have to play each other, and I think Stevenson-Salisbury is good for Division III lacrosse. I think it’s one of the biggest draws of the season. The amount of attention that it gets, I think it’s a good game for us to play – not only for us and Salisbury, but also for the game of lacrosse. I think people want to see those games, they want to come to those games, and I’m committed to playing those games. Whatever game is good for lacrosse, I want to play it, and hopefully, Coach Berkman does as well.”
While the Mustangs are on the Sea Gulls’ schedule, the same cannot be said for SUNY Cortland. After losing, 14-10, to Salisbury in the NCAA tournament final on Memorial Day, coach Steve Beville openly petitioned Berkman to add the Red Dragons to the Sea Gulls’ schedule in his postgame comments.
“First thing I’m trying to do is get him to play us in the regular season, which he never does,” said Beville, whose team last played Salisbury in the regular season on March 10, 2010. “You can put that one in there. Maybe he finally will if it gets in the press.”
Berkman said he’s open to the idea, but said that after filling the schedule with games against Capital Athletic Conference opponents and maintain some of the program’s annual rivalries, there aren’t many open dates left.
“It may work out in the future depending on what happens,” he said. “But it’s not like we don’t play a good schedule. We’ve played them in the past, and we’ll probably play them in the future. It can happen on a regular basis, but you never know that because of the conference schedule and some traditional rivalries.”