No. 5 Salisbury's 14-11 upset of No. 2 Lynchburg at Sea Gull Stadium on Wednesday afternoon confirmed to coach Jim Berkman what he already knew.
"People are thinking, 'Salisbury's got another good team,' which I don't think many people doubted," he said Thursday morning. "But I thought it was a very good win. We kept our composure, and when things were going kind of south a little bit for us in the goal, even though we were playing extremely well, some teams could have lost it there. We stayed the course and got some great faceoff play in the fourth quarter and kept the ball away from them and buried some shots."
The Sea Gulls (2-0) saw sophomore goalkeeper Anthony Stavrakis, who earned his second straight start, go more than 18 minutes without making a save and trailed the Hornets (0-1) by three goals or more on three different occasions. Salisbury rallied from deficits of 3-0 and 7-3 and 8-7 to tie the score, but Lynchburg responded each time by retaking the lead.
The Sea Gulls overcame an 11-8 hole at the beginning of the fourth quarter courtesy of three consecutive goals from junior attackman Carson Kalama in the first 3 minutes, 33 seconds, causing Berkman to turn to assistant coach Ben Sandlin.
"We tied it up at 11-11, and I told Ben, 'The next goal is really important,'" Berkman said. "The whole game, we had been battling and battling, and every time, they've had an answer. I said to Ben, 'Whoever scores the next goal is going to win the game.' You could feel that because you can only come back so many times in a game. We got that next goal [from junior attackman Nathan Blondino at 10:51], and that gave us a little bit of confidence. Then we won the next faceoff and got another goal right away [from sophomore midfielder Garrett Reynolds at 10:15]. Before we knew it, we were down three and then up two."
five six more games against top 20 opponents on the schedule, but Berkman said the win against the Hornets is a solid start.
"It's a good quality win over a team that's going to win a lot of games this year," he said. "They've got two of the best attackmen in the country and literally their entire offense in the midfield. As far as offensively, we came back against one of the best teams in the country. So it was a great win, a great win in early February."