Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

Salisbury Has Been There Before

irish rugby tours

Salisbury Has Been There Before

Colleen McCloskey photo.

Salisbury University may have lost to Mount St. Mary’s in a non-conference game this year, and may have lost the Capital Conference final to Towson, but they should not be counted out in the national semis.

The Sharks have been there before. In fact, since 2011 Salisbury has been in the final four four times, finishing 2nd twice and winning in the final spring tournament in 2013. Last year, they missed out, losing 18-15 to Notre Dame College in the quarters. 

They will need that experience, especially as bad weather has forced the Sharks players to train indoors for the last few days.

“We did more technique stuff rather than moving around a lot,” said Salisbury Coach Bill Creese. “We worked on what we needed to work on. For us, against Duluth, we need to nail down our defense. We like what we’ve been doing and we need to continue to do that, but we need to step it up a notch, and finish all of our tackles.”

That’s what it’s about at a national championship level. Salisbury has been relatively dominant this season despite the early loss to MSM. That defeat forced the team to work just that little bit harder. They thumped Towson 38-13 in regular-season play, only to lose to Towson in the conference final. But that still showed fans what the Sharks can do. And while they had to battle through the national playoffs (27-21 over Coastal Carolina and 27-18 over VMI), they survived. Injuries slowed them, but those players - key among them, scrumhalf Blake Carroll and flyhalf Mike Mullens - are largely back and ready to play.

Salisbury is pretty dynamic up front, with first-year player Prince Etim Eyo a nice find, and prop/hooker Jacob Fazio a defensive powerhouse. 

And nobody is intimidated.

“We just need to stay with the game plan,” said Creese. “Ball possession or field position, pick one. At this point, we won’t make them all better rugby players. Right now it’s about getting ready. We can make them more mentally prepared. That’s what the coaches are doing.”