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Salisbury men's lacrosse has turned tough stretch of games into convincing wins

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Eight days ago, a stretch of games against then-No. 20 Christopher Newport, Frostburg State and No. 7 York was thought to be a daunting path to close out the Capital AthIetic Conference schedule for Salisbury.

Someone forgot to tell that to the top-ranked Sea Gulls, who routed all three opponents by at least 10 goals to remain undefeated at 16-0 overall and 8-0 in the league. Their ability to forge such convincing victories – especially a 17-5 pummeling of York on Wednesday afternoon – has been a delight for coach Jim Berkman.

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"I'm excited about this team because we are getting better every week," he said Thursday morning. "We're a lot better on defense now with our ability to go out and guard you a little further away from the goal and pressure you and take you out of your comfort zone. We're definitely moving the ball a whole lot better on offense. I just think we're continuing to get better."

Each of the past three wins – which gave Salisbury its fifth straight CAC regular-season championship and the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the conference tournament – has been marked by overwhelming runs. The team went on a 12-0 spurt against Christopher Newport, an 8-0 sprint against Frostburg State and a 9-0 run against York.

Berkman said the spurts have been aided by the team's ability to turn defensive stops into transition opportunities that resulted in goals.

"We've been getting some easier goals," he said. "We're not grinding it out for every goal. We've been getting some four-on-threes and some things that our attack is kind of thriving on that we weren't getting before. And it's not just one or two of them. There were a few of those in the first half yesterday. … We've had a lot more opportunities than we were having six weeks ago. I think we're getting the ball on the ground a little bit more because of our pressure defense, and I also think we're getting better and getting up and down the field. The ball's coming out of the goalie's stick a lot better and more often that's creating some opportunities."

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