BY STEPHEN CHOTT
The Sea Gulls got one step closer to winning the Capital Athletic Conference championship with a 2-0 victory against Mary Washington in the CAC semifinals Wednesday night.
In previous matchup between the two squads, SU traveled to Mary Washington and were able to come away with a convincing 4-2 win thanks to an early first half lead.
Wednesday’s game played out similarly as the Sea Gulls scored in the fourth minute to set the tone. Senior forward Matt Greene placed a corner kick into the box that fellow forward Brooks Zentgraf was able to head into the goal giving the Sea Gulls the lead.
Salisbury wasn’t able to score again until early in the second half. After a Mary Washington turnover, junior midfielders Brad Martilleni and Leslie Umunna connected to put the ball in from outside of the box.
After the Umunna goal put the Sea Gulls up 2-0, the game took a turn as Mary Washington felt the referees missed a foul on the goal.
Shortly after the goal, junior defender Mitchell Williams of Mary Washington was given a yellow card for arguing and using foul language towards the refs. Ten minutes later he picked up a second yellow card on a slide tackle and would have to leave the game.
As Mary Washington players lost their composure, the Sea Gulls did the best they could to keep their cool and close out the game.
“This game is very emotional,” Umunna said. “We do our best to focus our emotions on playing the game instead of lashing out. We were focused on getting the job done.”
Salisbury was able to play great defense for the rest of the game and didn’t see much of a threat outside of one attack that was stopped by an outstanding save from senior goalkeeper Drew Staedeli, who recorded his eighth shutout of the season.
With this semifinal win, the Sea Gulls will focus all attention on their home game this Saturday against St. Mary’s for the CAC Championship. The Gulls won the regular season matchup on Oct. 7, but head coach Gerry DiBartolo says there isn’t a lot you can take from that win.
“We played them such a long time ago that things changed. People may not have changed but how they approach the game has,” DiBartolo said. “To be honest, it’s a matter of getting our team to play up to the best of its abilities and hope it’s enough to get us the win.”
DiBartolo announced after last week’s win over Wesley, 2015 would be his final year as the men’s soccer head coach, making the championship game that much more important to Salisbury.
Salisbury will be seeking its eighth CAC Championship victory and the first since 2008 when they take the field at the SU Soccer Complex on Saturday.