Edward LeeContact Reporter.
The Baltimore Sun.
Salisbury’s No. 7 ranked defense might have to play in the NCAA Division III men’s tournament final without starter Will Nowesnick.
The junior defenseman is battling concussion-like symptoms, and coach Jim Berkman said Nowesnick’s availability is uncertain as the Sea Gulls (21-1), the top seed in the South Region, prepare to face the Rochester Institute of Technology (20-2), the No. 1 seed in the North region, on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
“He’s kind of in the protocol,” Berkman said Tuesday. “He’s got to make it through the protocol over the next five days. He’s probably going to be a game-time decision.”
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Nowesnick, who leads the defense in caused turnovers with 42 and ranks fourth in ground balls with 60, did not play in Salisbury’s 12-11 victory over Denison in Sunday’s semifinals. Instead, 6-1, 195-pound freshman Drew Borkowicz made the first start of his career.
Nowesnick, a two-time All-Capital Athletic Conference first-team selection, has been a three-year starter. This season, the Sea Gulls rank seventh in the country in fewest goals allowed per game at 6.7. The defense will be tested by a Tigers offense that ranks fourth in the nation in scoring at 17.5.
Berkman acknowledged that Nowesnick’s absence was noticeable in the win against the Big Red.
“When you’ve got a guy who’s 6-5 and he’s got great range and he’s one of the best ground ball defensemen in the country and was a second-team All American as a sophomore, you’d rather be playing with him than without him because then it allows [junior defenseman] Kyle Tucker to do some other things, too, within our defense’s schemes,” Berkman said. “But to Drew Borkowicz’s credit – who is a freshman – we held Denison to four goals and then shut them out for an 18-minute or 19-minute period, and he definitely played a solid game. So whoever moves forward for Sunday, I know they’re going to give it their best shot.”
Interviews with Towson men’s lacrosse players and coach Shawn Nadelen at practice. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)
Borkowicz, a Bel Air resident and Calvert Hall graduate, has 10 ground balls and eight caused turnovers in 15 games. Even though he did not accumulate any stats against Denison, Berkman was pleased with Borkowicz’s effort.
“Good composure,” he said. “He did a good job, he made a couple of good slides, he didn’t make any mistakes, he cleared the ball all right. He gave us a solid game and stepped up like the next man always has at Salisbury.”