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Salisbury men's lacrosse improvement on faceoffs involves specialists, wings

After a slow start, Salisbury's men's lacrosse team has returned to the success on faceoffs that the Sea Gulls have become accustomed to in recent years.

After going 44-of-87 (50.6 percent) on draws in the first four games, the No. 11 Sea Gulls (10-4 overall and 6-0 in the Capital Athletic Conference) have won 155-of-238 (65.1 percent) in their past 10 games. Sophomore Cameron Maples and freshman Brooks Eibner have had a hand in that progression.

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Maples has won 59.8 percent of his faceoffs (134-of-224) and picked up 61 ground balls, while Eibner has won 63.0 percent (58-of-92) and collected 20 ground balls.

"They've made a lot of progress," coach Jim Berkman said Thursday morning. "Including the Ohio Wesleyan game, we've won the battle against every team at the X. They've gotten better."

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Berkman credited the duo's development to assistant coach Tyler Granelli. In three seasons at Salisbury, Granelli won 676 career draws, scooped up 418 ground balls, and was named the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Face-Off Specialist Of the Year in 2012.

"We have a faceoff-only coach who spends at least an hour with the faceoff guys a day exclusively," Berkman said. "So they're probably getting a lot more reps than they're getting anywhere else. They're getting so many reps that they're just getting better."

Berkman also said the faceoff success has been buoyed by the play of junior short-stick defensive midfielder Davis Anderson and sophomore long-stick midfielder Andrew Ternahan. Anderson ranks second only to Ternahan in ground balls with 49 and has recorded a goal and an assist, while Ternahan has posted three goals, 23 ground balls and five caused turnovers since playing regularly on the wings in the team's last nine games.

"He was doing it a little bit and then we just figured that's got to be his gig," Berkman said of Ternahan. "He was just getting every ground ball, and he's done that in every game he's been in there. And he's a threat with that pole. … So I think the whole package of our faceoff play has gotten a lot better over the course of time."

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