Salisbury is 4-0 and ranked No. 2 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association's Division III poll, but there were a couple scares.
The Sea Gulls had to climb out of an 11-8 hole at the end of the third quarter to overtake then-No. 2 Lynchburg, 14-11, on Feb. 17. This past Saturday, the team overcame a 6-4 deficit early in the third quarter to outlast No. 5 Gettysburg, 10-7.
Salisbury's ability to rally for victories suggests a certain resiliency, according to coach Jim Berkman.
"I think it tells us a little bit about their maturity," he said Wednesday morning. "They didn't panic when we went down a little bit. We just stayed the course and kept plugging away and didn't panic. Everybody stayed within the system, and it works."
Berkman pointed out that of 10 starters, the team is relying on five who started in 2015, three juniors and two sophomores. The starting defensive midfield is composed of two seniors and one junior, and the primary faceoff specialist is a junior transfer.
"I just think we've got a pretty veteran group," he said. "They all play really well together. They know each other. You've got three juniors on attack. You've got two seniors and a junior on the first midfield line. So you've got a lot of experience in those first six guys, and then the next middies are two seniors and a sophomore. Everybody kind of knows what we do. Everybody has fit into their roles. They know that we're good enough and that if we just keep doing what we're doing and don't panic, we're going to score some goals. I think that was important in both of those games."
The Sea Gulls can also lean on a pedigree that includes 10 NCAA championships and 19 Capital Athletic Conference titles. The long line of players who have gone through the program instruct their younger teammates on how to perform, and that approach has handed down year after year. That explains why Berkman took a long pause when asked if the current squad's resiliency reminds him of any teams from the past.
"We've never been a team that's panicked when we've gotten behind," he said. "We have confidence in the system and the program. But every year is a new year, and for them to play the schedule we've played in the first month of the season after only two weeks of practice and stay the course, I like that trait."