— An attack-powered offense for the Salisbury men's lacrosse team gave way to the midfield on Sunday.
Senior Sean Fitzgerald scored a game-high four goals, and senior Greg Korvin added one goal and three assists as the No. 5 Sea Gulls beat Ohio Wesleyan, 13-7, at Landon School. Sophomore Thomas Cirillo scored twice and sophomore Brady Dashiell had an assist as Salisbury improved to 6-0 for the 10th time in the past 11 years.
Fitzgerald's output on a team-best nine shots was just one shy of his goal total for the season, and Korvin's three assists were a season high.
"Fitzy had a breakout game," Salisbury coach Jim Berkman said. "Four goals today. He really could have had a couple more if there weren't some big one-on-one saves that he had inside. But it was a good effort. We're getting better."
The 10-time Division III national champion Sea Gulls have been renowned for producing prolific attackmen, like two-time National Player of the Year Jason Coffman and National Attackmen of the Year winners Dan Boyer and Matt Cannone. In the past, several National Player of the Year honorees also played in the midfield for Salisbury, like Jason Smith, Kylor Berkman and Sam Bradman, but the offense in recent years has shifted to an attack-driven unit.
Korvin, an Odenton native and Arundel graduate, was a member of the 2012 NCAA title-winning squad that featured Bradman and said although the current midfield may not have a superstar like Bradman, the talent is more diverse among the top two lines.
"I think we definitely have the depth," he said. "There's never going to be another middie like Sammy, obviously. He's one of the best. But we just try to focus on playing as a team and getting it on every day."
Fitzgerald, a Crofton native who also graduated from Arundel, said the task for the midfielders hasn't changed even if the offense has.
"Even two years ago, when it was built more off of the attack, the midfielders would still initiate and then they would pass and pass until someone had a shot," he said. "This year, we're doing the same thing. We're initiating, and today, they just didn't slide. So we were able to get some goals."
The starting line of Korvin, Fitzgerald and senior Donovan Lange (Northeast) is not your traditional midfield, according to Berkman.
"They're three middies that are just like attackmen out there," he said. "They keep their heads up, and at the slightest slide, they can make people pay. They can break a team down and get the ball to open people. And they're three guys that can shoot. There's not a lot of teams that has three middies that can really shoot the ball, and that's difficult to defend because usually you're counting on that weak link, and there's not a weak link when that group is out there."
Senior attackman Luke Phipps had two goals and one assist for Salisbury, but the rest of the starting attack had a quiet outing. Junior Mike Kane was limited to just one goal, and senior Rhett DePol's one goal and one assist came in the second half.
Ohio Wesleyan (4-1) opened the scoring on a goal by senior midfielder Spencer Schnell just 53 seconds into the first quarter, but Salisbury responded with a four-goal run that included two tallies from Fitzgerald.
After Schnell scored with 2:50 left in the first quarter, Korvin, Fitzgerald and Cirillo each scored to give the Sea Gulls a 7-2 lead.
The Battling Bishops scored two of the first half's last three goals, but Salisbury ran off four unanswered goals in the third quarter to put the game out of reach.
The Sea Gulls prevailed despite the duo of junior Michael Schiavone and sophomore Preston Dabbs combining to lose 16 of 22 faceoffs.
Part of the problem was the absence of senior Chris Biank (55.9 percent on 52 of 93 and 35 ground balls) who is dealing with a separated shoulder, but Ohio Wesleyan junior Sam Gioseffi played a significant role by winning 16 faceoffs and scooping up a game-high nine ground balls.
The Battling Bishops were held to six goals under their season average and 15 shots below their average. Salisbury senior goalkeeper Alex Taylor finished with 11 saves, and a pair of long-stick midfielders in senior Zeke Smith and junior Marty Wallace each caused three turnovers.