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Salisbury, Frostburg State men's lacrosse toning down the hype before Saturday's showdown

Salisbury

Saturday's game pitting No. 11 Salisbury at No. 17 Frostburg State involves the only two teams with unblemished records in the Capital Athletic Conference.

The Sea Gulls (10-4 overall and 6-0 league) are also the 10-time NCAA Division III champions, while the Bobcats (14-0, 5-0) are one of just five teams that have yet to suffer a loss.

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But the coaches of both Salisbury and Frostburg State insisted Thursday that their players are keeping a tight lid on their emotions and the hype.

"It's just not uncharted territory for us," Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman said. "We know what that emotion feels like. We've played with that, we've played at that high level of competition. It's nothing new for us."

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Added Bobcats coach Tommy Pearce: "I think our players do a pretty good job of understanding the situation this year. Going into the Washington College game, going into Christopher Newport, going into York, I think they've done a pretty good job of balancing their excitement and their focus."

Salisbury has clashed with four teams this spring ranked in the top 20 of the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll at the time of their games, and despite a 1-3 record, Berkman said the players understand the significance of Saturday's contest.

"We've done this," he said. "So it's not going to be any big thing for our guys in terms of being overanxious. This is just what happens here all the time. So we've been in these games, we've been in this environment, we've played at this high level in games already. So we've got to play the same way we've been playing in those games."

A Frostburg State win would move the program closer to its first regular-season CAC title, its first No. 1 seed in the league tournament and home-field advantage throughout the conference postseason. But Pearce said much can change in the team's final three games of the regular season.

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"I think it's the next three games we play," he said. "St. Mary's is just hitting their stride, and they beat a really good Mary Washington team yesterday. And Mary Washington's pretty good. So I think the next three teams will have a lot to do with that. I don't think that Saturday is the end of the season."

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