By Chris Mackowiak
The last week has come and gone with the regular seasons ending for multiple Salisbury University teams. While the regular season continues for both football and volleyball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, and field hockey have all received their fate headed into their respective conference tournaments.
Below I breakdown each team’s current playoff situation and who they will potentially play through the conference tournament. As each team falls whether in a conference tournament or the NCAA Tournament, watch out for the new ‘Team Report Card’ series in which The Flyer sports staff highlights each team with individual awards and an overall takeaway for the season.
Make sure to stay with thesuflyer.com for the latest recaps and previews headed into conference and NCAA playoff action.
No. 2 Field Hockey (14-1, 6-0; first in CAC)
With a 7-0 win over Wesley College on Wednesday, Salisbury finishes the season undefeated in Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) play. The Sea Gulls win the division by two games with a tie for second place between Christopher Newport, Mary Washington, and York.
As the No. 1 seed in the CAC Tournament, Salisbury acquires home-field advantage through the tournament and a first round bye into the second round which begins Wednesday. The Sea Gulls will face the winner of the 5/4 match up between No. 5 St. Mary’s and No. 4 York which will be played at York on Sunday.
Earlier this season, Salisbury defeated St. Mary’s 4-0, and the team also won against York 6-2. Both games were in the month of October.
On the opposite side of the bracket, No. 2 Christopher Newport hosts No. 3 Mary Washington for a berth into the CAC Championship Game. In a tight match, CNU defeated UMW 1-0 last Wednesday. On Oct. 19, Salisbury won a nail-biter against CNU 2-1 in OT. The Sea Gulls had a much easier time facing Mary Washington on Homecoming resulting in a 6-1 win.
Salisbury still looks to contend for the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament after moving up to the No. 2 spot in the nation last week. The team at the No. 1 spot currently in the nation is Messiah College, the only team to defeat Salisbury this season.
No. 17/19 Football (6-1, 4-1; tied first in NJAC)
The New Jersey Athletic Conference came into Saturday with five teams tied for first place with a 4-1 record. No. 21 Rowan, Christopher Newport, Frostburg State, and Wesley all were in action against each other on Saturday, while the No. 22 Sea Gulls welcomed Kean (3-3, 2-3) into Sea Gull Stadium.
After the contests concluded, Wesley took down Rowan on the road 24-17. Christopher Newport made the long journey west to Frostburg only to fall 17-6. Salisbury came out victorious over the Cougars with a 34-16 result.
With the results in the book, Wesley, Frostburg State, and Salisbury all move up to a 5-1 conference record in a tie for first place in the NJAC. Since Wesley took down Rowan, the Sea Gulls control their own destiny because they will not face Wesley or Frostburg State until the final two weekends of the regular season. Wesley holds the tiebreaker against Frostburg State after their 43-7 win over the Bobcats on Sept. 10.
The Sea Gulls must win out in their last three games (at CNU, vs. Wesley, at FSU) to take home their second straight NJAC title. Their next game is Saturday, Oct. 29 at Christopher Newport, who will be looking to play spoiler following their loss this week.
Men’s Soccer (7-8-1, 4-5; seventh place in CAC)
After a 2-1 win at Wesley College Tuesday night, Salisbury only needed Frostburg State to draw or lose against Southern Virginia for the Sea Gulls to advance into the CAC Tournament. While the Knights did put up a fight for the Sea Gulls, Frostburg State was victorious 2-1 over SVU, sealing the sixth seed in the tournament.
Salisbury fails to qualify for the CAC Tournament, just one point behind the final spot. The team seemed to be peaking at the right moment towards the end of the season, but it was just not enough. For Head Coach Alex Hargrove, he leads a very young team after this season into a 2017 campaign with plenty of more questions than answers.
Later this weekend, check out our men’s soccer report card for evaluations of the season, individual postseason awards, and a look ahead to 2017.
Women’s Soccer (5-7-4, 4-4-1; sixth place in CAC)
On Tuesday night, Mary Washington paved the way for the Sea Gulls into the CAC Tournament by defeating Penn State Harrisburg 4-1. Just with that result, Salisbury locked a spot in the tournament. The Sea Gulls aided their own cause with a 5-1 victory over Wesley College.
Salisbury now looks ahead to their first round matchup tomorrow at St. Mary’s. St. Mary’s (9-6-1, 6-2-1) comes in as the No. 3 seed, and Salisbury enters at No. 6, occupying the final spot in the conference race. Earlier this season when the Seahawks and Sea Gulls met, St. Mary’s came away with a 2-0 win.
If SU Head Coach Kwame Lloyd and the Sea Gulls are able to grab a win, they will face a trip on Nov. 2 out to No. 2 Frostburg State, who received a bye into the semifinals. Frostburg also took down Salisbury 2-0 a few weeks ago.
Women’s Volleyball (19-7, 7-1; tied for first in CAC)
Salisbury continued their strong run towards the end of the regular season with a straight sets win over Wesley College Tuesday night, followed by another 3-0 win against Southern Virginia on Friday night. The wins continue the tie at the top of the CAC standings between three teams: Salisbury, Marymount (21-6, 7-1 CAC), and Mary Washington (25-3, 7-1). This week, Marymount handed Mary Washington their first loss of the season which shook things up for postseason play.
Now the Sea Gulls are definitely in the discussion for the number one overall seed and home-field advantage in the CAC Tournament. A lot of tiebreakers will need to be worked through if these teams finish tied by the end of the weekend.
Both Marymount and Mary Washington finish their CAC regular season on Saturday against Christopher Newport and St. Mary’s respectively. However, Salisbury will also play their final match of the season on Saturday.
The Saturday afternoon matinee will be a match up with Frostburg State (11-17, 1-6 CAC). It is a game that Salisbury should win on paper, but of course, one never knows in the crunch time of the season. By Saturday night, the CAC community will know the seeds and pairings for the CAC Tournament starting on Tuesday.
If Salisbury finishes as the No. 3 seed, they would host a match on Tuesday, Nov. 1. However, if the Sea Gulls can grab the No. 1 or No. 2 seed, the team will receive a first round bye to the semifinals, which they would also host, on Thursday, Nov. 3. At this point, Salisbury controls their own destiny and must go 2-0 over these two days for the best chance at a top seed.