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Salisbury over Coastal in Play-In

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Salisbury over Coastal in Play-In

Salisbury University is through to the national men’s DII Round of 16 after a touch 27-21 victory over Coastal Carolina in a play-in match between the two conference runners-up.

It was a game of two contrasting styles as Coastal attempted to keep the ball in tight and punch it up the middle, and Salisbury tried to use ball movement and their kick game to stretch the Coastal defense.

“They crashed it up against us,” said Salisbury’s John Capobianco, “and our defense wasn’t firing up. That led to holes in our defense. But we were able to stop them.”

Salisbury’s defense forced enough knock-ons to keep Coastal from scoring, but the Sharks were also constantly in penalty trouble. They weren’t just one kind of penalty, but eventually Salisbury started to straighten it out.

Salisbury led 10-7 at halftime and managed to just keep Coastal away. They lost both of their scrumhalves to ankle injuries, but kept the ball moving. Justin Manko reeled off several big runs and scored a try, but Capobianco said the team could do better.

“It was a sloppy game,” said Capobianco. “I don’t think we played anywhere near our best ability. We need to clean things up, but we’re glad we won.”

Salisbury will face VMI in the Round of 16 next week.