SALISBURY, Md. - The top-ranked Salisbury University men's lacrosse team began its defense of their 2007 NCAA Division III national championship on Saturday afternoon with a 20-7 victory over Virginia Wesleyan College before a crowd of 639 at Sea Gull Stadium. The victory marked the 300th career win for Coach Jim Berkman at Salisbury.
Berkman is now 300-30 in 20 seasons at SU and 309-35 in 21 seasons as he spent one season at Potsdam State. His career winning percentage is currently 90.1 percent in 21 seasons. That mark is the best in NCAA men's lacrosse history in all divisions.
"I feel very fortunate to have coached a lot of great players over time to allow our program to reach this milestone. I am fortunate to be at a great institution that allows us to attract them. Hopefully there are a few more [wins] after today," said Berkman.
Berkman is now 17 wins away from tying the all-time NCAA men's lacrosse career wins mark of 326 held by retired Army coach Jack Emmer. Berkman and Emmer are the only NCAA men's lacrosse coaches to surpass the 300-win milestone.
The Sea Gulls (1-0) scored their first goal of the season 37 seconds into the first quarter on an unassisted goal by senior Matt Hickman (three goals, one assists). Salisbury dominated the first quarter as the Sea Gulls outshot the Marlins, 21-0, and led 6-0.
Virginia Wesleyan (0-1) snapped the Salisbury run early in the second quarter as Drew Langis scored an extra-man goal off an assist from Damian Becker at the 12:45 mark.
Sophomore Mike Von Kamecke (three goals, two assists) scored two of the next SU goals, both unassisted, as the Sea Gulls built a 9-1 lead. Minutes later the Sea Gulls added to their lead when junior Patrick Bonanno (three goals) scored his second goal of the half on an assist from senior Greg Titus (two goals, one assist). Salisbury's defense gave up a Marlin goal with nine second before the half as the maroon and gold led 10-3.
In the second half, the Sea Gulls scored the first three goals with two back-to-back marks coming off the stick of junior Kylor Berkman (three goals). Salisbury outscored Virginia Wesleyan 10-4 in the second half.
VWC was led by Langis' three goals and Maicin Dunk's four assists in the loss. Three of the Marlin's seven goals came on extra-man opportunities. Marlin goalie Tom Skartsiaris made 18 saves for Virginia Wesleyan.
The Sea Gulls outshot the Marlins 69-22 and scooped up 64 ground balls. Salisbury won 24-of-30 face-offs and was 28-for-31 on clears. This was the first official men's lacrosse game for Salisbury on the new A-Turf surface at Sea Gull Stadium.
Salisbury increases two of its winning streaks with today's win. The Sea Gulls have won 63 straight games during the regular-season and 61 consecutive games at home since a 13-12 loss to Lynchburg College on April 10, 2003. Next up for Salisbury is the No. 5 Hornets from Lynchburg next Saturday (February 23) at 12 p.m.