Stevenson, Salisbury can't look ahead to Saturday's men's lacrosse showdown

Saturday’s matchup between No. 2 Stevenson and No. 3 Salisbury will almost certainly draw national attention and looms as a pivotal game for both teams as they jockey for position for the top seed in the South Region when the NCAA tournament opens May 7.

The reigning Division III national champion Mustangs (12-1 overall and 5-0 in the Commonwealth Conference) welcome Widener (7-4, 5-0) to Owings Mills on Wednesday night for a key league battle that could determine the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

The Sea Gulls (14-1, 5-1 in the Capital Athletic Conference) will visit league foe Marymount (8-5, 1-4) on Wednesday afternoon as they try to remain a half-game ahead of No. 16 York (12-3, 4-1) for the regular-season title and top seed in the conference tournament.

Those two games should prevent Stevenson and Salisbury from looking ahead to Saturday’s showdown.

“We’re going to be talking about that 24-7 over the next two days, that’s for sure,” Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman said of not overlooking Marymount. “Everybody’s good now. The landscape’s changed. If we think back to 10 or 15 years, the bottom teams in our conference didn’t have nine or 10 wins. We used to breeze through it and beat everyone by a ton of goals. Now we’ve got three teams in the top [16] and now they’re talking about our conference having the highest strength of schedule of all the conferences.

"Marymount lost one non-conference game and they won [seven] out of [eight]. So everybody’s good, there are a lot of players out there, the game’s growing. You’ve got to play every day. No one’s just going to show up and win anymore. So that will be the emphasis today and tomorrow.”

Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene said: “I think we’ll focus on game at a time. I think they’ve done a good job of that all year. We’re used to playing a lot of big games back-to-back, and I think if we take care of Widener, we’ll worry about Salisbury later.”

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