The top-ranked Salisbury men’s lacrosse team hosted Rhodes College on Monday night. Salisbury topped the Lynx by a 22-5 margin to stay undefeated on the season.
Rhodes entered this contest after a loss to a familiar foe for Salisbury. It lost to Southern Virginia University on Saturday 22-12.
The Sea Gulls came in after a 22-4 win over Ohio Wesleyan University the previous day. Despite the quick turnaround, senior attacker Pierre Armstrong felt that the Sea Gulls were well-prepared for their matchup against Rhodes.
“We got off the bus, did a quick scout [on Rhodes] and felt like we were prepared and ready for anything today,” Armstrong said. “No matter the preparation, we’re always ready to play our best and give it our all.”
Senior long stick midfielder Kevin Murphy, after picking up a ground ball, assisted junior attacker Cross Ferrara on Salisbury’s first goal of the night. Salisbury tacked on three more first-quarter goals from Armstrong, Ferrara and senior attacker Josh Melton, giving the home team a 4-0 lead.
After second quarter goals from Melton, junior attacker Griffin Moroney and sophomore midfielder Logan Posner, the Lynx got on the board with 5:39 left in the first half with a men-up goal from Tyler Pellegrino. In the same man-up opportunity, Ryan Dancy scored to double the Lynx score.
Goals by Armstrong and junior midfielder Jarrett Bromwell gave the Sea Gulls a 9-2 lead at halftime.
Melton scored 30 seconds into the third quarter to give the Sea Gulls a 10-2 lead. Salisbury continued its offensive barrage, adding four more goals before Rhodes scored its first goal of the second half.
The Sea Gulls outscored the Lynx 13-3 in the final two quarters to pick up their seventh win of the year.
10 different Sea Gulls scored a goal in the contest, including freshman midfielder Colin Phipps, who scored his first collegiate goal in the fourth quarter. Salisbury head coach Jim Berkman credits his offensive success to their diverse lineup of players who can score.
“We’re a tough team to defend because there is so many guys that can score. You got to pick your poison, and it seems like one day it’s one guy, and the next day it’s another guy,” Berkman said. “We’ve done a good job taking advantage of that and being a diverse, well-spread-out offense.”
Melton led the Sea Gulls with a game-high five goals. After leading the Sea Gulls in assists the previous day, Melton felt that tonight was his night to lead the Sea Gulls offense in scoring.
“It’s just my night tonight,” Melton said. “We have days where Cross [Ferrara] might come out and score a lot … Ball was coming my way, and I just had to finish. It could be anyone, any night, so whenever I have my opportunities [to score], I make sure I’m burying them.”
Armstrong recorded his first hat trick of the season, leading all bench scorers.
He said it is important to have players like himself able to come in and immediately contribute offensively.
“I get to be more aggressive when I’m coming out on the second line and give us some instant offense off the bench,” Armstrong said.
The Sea Gulls' next home game is on Saturday when they host the State University of New York Cortland. Armstrong believes that after a good week at practice, Salisbury will be ready for the Red Dragons.
“We got a couple days before we got to start preparing for this next game, long week of practice, we just got to make sure our preparation is the same and we keep putting up numbers,” Armstrong said.
After Cortland, the Sea Gulls also host the State University of New York Geneseo (3-1), Stevenson University (1-3) and No. 8 Cabrini University (3-1) to close the month of March. Geneseo, Stevenson and Cortland are all currently on the bubble of being nationally ranked.
With the tough schedule ahead, Berkman said the Sea Gulls need to be at their best right now.
“We got a big stretch coming up now. We’re playing basically four ranked teams in a row coming up that are big rivalries,” Berkman said. “We got to be at our best for 60 minutes for each and every game as we move through this really tough part of our schedule.”
By BRANDON STARK
Featured photo: Brad Boardman image.