Salisbury's Jim Berkman unfazed by departures of two standout midfielders

Every passing year has watched players leave Salisbury via graduation or other avenues, and the program has seemingly found a way to unearth capable replacements. That formula could be extremely timely for the upcoming season.

Midfielders Ryan Clarke and Tyler Smith elected not to return the Sea Gulls. Clarke, who registered 35 goals and 29 assists in 2012 and was named a first-team All American before rupturing a spleen in the fourth game of last year and sitting out the remainder of 2013, was selected by the Rochester Rattlers with the 60th overall pick in the Major League Lacrosse’s 2014 supplemental draft in December. 

“Obviously, Ryan Clarke was a great player, but there’s a lot of guys that have been here all fall and are working extremely hard together that have formed a pretty strong nucleus in the midfield,” Salisbury coach Jim Berkman said. “Ryan Clarke has not been in our picture as far as this year whatsoever.”

Clarke’s absence was filled by Smith, who posted 26 goals and seven assists. But like Clarke, Smith is not returning for his senior year, and Berkman said he is happy with the players on the roster.

“That was his own decision,” Berkman said of Smith. “The guys that have been here all fall, we feel very, very happy about.”

The Sea Gulls will open the upcoming campaign without starting defenseman Danny Sherr. The junior’s 2012 season was cut short by chronic foot problems and despite surgery, recovery has been slow enough to shelve Sherr until at least 2015.

“We knew that was going to be a game-time decision based on the surgeries,” Berkman said. “He had both feet operated on. He was just able to start running an easy mile two weeks ago. It’s going to be too much too soon for the operations that he had on his feet. Hopefully, he’ll have all spring to rehab and get back so that he’ll have two full-strength years to finish out his career.”

Sophomore Adam Stork, who was lost for the year after breaking his leg during practice on March 5, is on pace to return, but Berkman said he wants the midfielder – who would be competing for a spot on the first midfield if fully healthy – to recover as quickly as his body will allow.

“I think that will all play out in the beginning,” he said. “He supposedly is around 90 to 95 percent right now. He’s playing basketball every day in the winter term. Obviously, he’s going to have some rust, but if Adam Stork gets to 100 percent, he’s definitely going to be an extreme asset in the midfield.”

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