GETTYSBURG, Pa. -- If the Division III rankings put out by the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association are a true indication of the relative abilities of the teams, look for Salisbury State to have another mammoth season.
Not that the Sea Gulls haven't been overpowering already. The top-ranked team crushed its supposed closest competitor, No. 2 Gettysburg, 14-3, yesterday for its 10th straight victory this season.
The Gulls have now won 19 in a row, dating back a year [today] when this same Gettysburg team registered a 10-8 triumph in Salisbury.
The Eastern Shore juggernaut finished off with nine wins last year on its way to its third division title in six seasons.
Clearly, the Gulls were superior in every phase of the game, at least on this day. They had bigger, faster passers who were more willing to give up the body. That came as no surprise to senior midfielder Rob Bates, who contributed a goal and two assists to run his season point total to 24.
"Our goal is to play every way you can," said Bates, a Severna Park High grad. "You probably noticed we have a very physical defense and we're very aggressive. But we can play the finesse game, too, if the situation calls for it."
Flashing its best form almost from the opening faceoff, Salisbury was able to stick to its game plan and breeze. "One of our goals was to move the ball around and shoot well, because we knew we'd be facing a zone," said coach Jim Berkman.
"We expected them to pack the defense in in front of their All-America goalie [Andrew Barter], so it was essential to be patient and execute. Another thing is we wanted to play from ahead."
The jam in front of the Gettysburg goal, resembling U.S. 50 heading through Salisbury on a Saturday morning during the summer, didn't hinder the visitors as Jimmy Barnes scored the game's first shot within the first two minutes, and Tim Parks, Ryan McKenzie and Joe High pushed the advantage to 4-0 within the first 11 minutes.
The Gulls, who led 7-1 at halftime, saw the Bullets score first in the second half before reeling off seven of the game's last eight goals.
Having a big day at the offensive end for Salisbury was Chris Turner, who snaked his way through the defense for four unassisted goals. The other multiple goal scorers with two apiece were Parks and Kevin Fox.
Gettysburg, which lost for the first time in seven games, was led by its high scorer Ric Bremer, who had two goals. Salisbury has now outscored its 10 opponents, 181-41.